Doomer OptimismAug 29, 2023
DO 190 - Doomer Optimism Literary Hour with Sally Thomas and Donald
Sally Thomas joins Donald for another installment of the Doomer Optimism Literary Hour. They discuss her novel Works of Mercy, American poetry past and present, homeschooling, and family life.
Sally Thomas is a poet and fiction writer, and author of two poetry collections, Motherland and the forthcoming Among the Living, both from Able Muse Press. Her novel, Works of Mercy, was published in 2022 by Wiseblood Books, and a short-story collection, The Blackbird and Other Stories is coming from the same publisher in the summer of 2024. With Micah Mattix, she co-edited an anthology, Christian Poetry in America Since 1940, which received Christianity Today’s 2023 Book Award in Culture and the Arts. As associate poetry editor for the New York Sun, she contributes regularly to the weekday Poem of the Day feature. The mother of four grown children, she lives quietly in North Carolina with her husband and a dog.
Her novel is available from Wise Blood Books: https://www.wisebloodbooks.com/store/p123/Works-of-Mery-by-Sally-Thomas.html
DO 189 - Permaculture in the Age of Displacement with Evan Welkin and Jason
Jason speaks with Evan Welkin (@ewelkin ) about the general theme of displacement and dispossession, and what permaculture (permanent culture) means in contexts of people increasingly being uprooted from their homes for political, climate, financial, ideological, or other reasons and having to move. They discuss his growing up in a rural Oregon town where the forests were being clearcut and toxic chemicals applied, his experience in Palestinian rights activism and the general Israeli / Palestinian conflict involving two peoples who have experienced dispossession throughout their history, their experience in developing a folk school, ecovillage, and regenerative farm at his wife’s families place in Italy and the waves of shocks (covid, climate, financial) that might force them to leave, his work with an organization teaching permaculture to refugees all around the world, and much more
DO 188 - Bringing Permaculture to the World with Andrew Millison, Roxanne, and Jason
Jason and Roxanne (@happyholistichs ) speak with Andrew Millison (@andrewmillison ), who runs the permaculture design course for Oregon State, and who produces a serious of remarkable educational videos on permaculture concepts and on projects all over the world. They talk about the importance of water in landscapes, his journey towards permaculture and education, how he sees the permaculture movement growing, applying permaculture in different cultural contexts, the lost opportunity of designing U.S. political borders around watersheds and bioregions, the economics of permaculture, motivating people to grow food, creative arrangements to enable broad scale land access, cutting edge ideas and projects for Andrew, how to address with the ecological problems in the California food system and the rising prevalence of wildfires, and his recent video documenting the work of Planting Justice
Andrew currently teaches the for-credit courses Permaculture Design Course (Hort 285) and the Advanced Permaculture Design Tools for Climate Resilience (Hort 485) at OSU, on campus and online.
Andrew teaches non-credit courses for the general public as well, including the:
Free Introduction to Permaculture Massive Open Online Course
Free Permaculture Water Design: Drought Proofing Farms open source module
Andrew also has produced two open source textbooks for his courses that are freely available:
Finally, Andrews excellent Youtube channel:
DO 187 - Thriving the Future with Scott Miller and Jason
In this episode Jason speaks with Scott Miller (@thrivingtthefut) about his podcast and newsletter Thriving the Future, building up his homestead, growing community, holding skills workshops, starting a tree nursery side hustle, and more
Scott lives on 10 acres in NE Kansas with gardens, (relatively) new food forests, and a tree nursery.
Thriving The Future Podcast focuses on positive solutions to help you Thrive. Including Designing your Intentional life, Homesteading, Gardening, Building Community, and Skills (#SkillsOverStuff).
Check it out at http://ThrivingtheFuture.com and the newsletter/blog at Thriver.News.
DO 186 - Working with Purpose with Nathaniel Marshall and GG
Nathaniel Marshall sits down to chat with Going Godward on vocation, the good purpose of work, and rejecting ease as a means of becoming a more integrated person. Explore meaning, work ethic, and optimism in this warm and enlightening episode
Twitter handle: @oblatenate
Twitter handle: @goinggodward
DO 185 - Growing Food in Sub/Urban Spaces with Zach Loeks, Tres, and Sim
Tres and Sim interview Zach Loeks, and talk about the problems and opportunities around growing food in sub/urban spaces. Zach debunks many of the myths around maintaining food production in urban landscapes, and we dig into the secrets of lesser-known city fruits.
Zach is an educator, author, artist, and farmer based in Canada.
Zach Loeks (@zachloeks) - https://www.zachloeks.com/
Tres Crow (@dogeatcrow) - https://www.greenboxus.com/
Sim Gooder (@slimgoober) - https://permapeople.org/
DO 184 - Ramp Hollow: The Ordeal of Appalachia with Steven Stoll and Jason
In this episode Jason speaks with Steven Stoll, the author of the excellent book Ramp Hollow: The Ordeal of Appalachia, about the history of land dispossession in Appalachia and the rise of industrial capitalism, manufactured dependency on wage labor due to land degradation or dispossession, The Whisky Rebellion, absentee land ownership and the initial squatters rights movement, coal towns and the how household gardens often served the interests of coal companies, a comparison of the experience of indigenous populations and early white settlers in losing access to land, his modern-day proposal for The Commons Communities Act and land reform more broadly, the potential of community land trusts, the broader international context e.g., modern-day land dispossession in Africa, and much more
DO 183 - Doomer Optimism Literary Hour with Jordan Castro, Donald and Joey
Donald and Joey talk to writer Jordan Castro about his new novel, the history of the Alt Lit literary movement, punk rock, and the Midwest.
Jordan Casto is the author of The Novelist (Soft Skull, 2022) and two poetry books. He is from Cleveland, Ohio.
DO 182 - Finding meaning in the chaos of life with Brian Fink with Going Godward
Brian Fink chats with Going Godward, offering a unique perspective on finding meaning in the chaos of life. Explore existentialism, spirituality, and optimism in this enlightening episode of Doomer Optimism.
DO 181 - The Weird Wild Wonderful World of Biochar with Tom Miles, Kelpie Wilson, Myles Gray, and Josh Kearns
The Weird Wild Wonderful World of Biochar – with Tom Miles, Kelpie Wilson, Myles Gray, and Josh
What is biochar and why should we care about it? A roundtable discussion with veterans of the biochar world.
Kelpie Wilson – Wilson Biochar
Myles Gray – US Biochar Initiative
Josh Kearns – A Field Guide to Biochar Water Treatment
Interest in biochar – “charcoal, with a purpose” – has been growing for 20 years. Biochar can enhance garden and agricultural soils and improve crop yields, provide a mechanism for drawdown and sequestering of atmospheric carbon, and provide a tunable engineered sorbent for a variety of water treatment and environmental remediation applications.
In this conversation, we discuss contemporary innovations and developments for using biochar to tackle a variety of sustainability challenges.
February 12-14, 2024
DO 180 - Towards a Fourth Generation Civilization with Michel Bauwens, Ashley, and Jason
In this episode, Ashley and Jason talk with Michel Bauwens about his work developing ideas for a ‘cosmo-local’ society through the power of horizontal P2P networks, a reimagining of the commons, and crypto. Along the way they talk about ascending and descending civilizations, why he thinks we’re in a descending one, and what that potentiates in terms of reinvigorating local societies and provisioning systems through the power of superlinear collaboration networks
Michel’s work can be found here:
DO 179 - Agroecological Enterprise in the Amazon - Lexie and Luis of Amisacho Restauracion with Josh
For decades, indigenous communities in the Amazonian region of Ecuador have been impacted by petrochemical exploitation and monocultural ag for export. They have suffered from pollution and associated ill health effects, economic insecurity, and encroachment on their traditional territories from roads, oil wells, pipelines, and industrial ag plantations.
Grassroots groups such as Amisacho Restauracion and La Clinica Ambiental have been working with locals to develop permaculture and agroecology approaches to preserving rainforest biodiversity and deriving sustainable livelihoods.
In this conversation we delve into the environmental history of region and the work of Lexie Gropper and Luis Munoz at Amisacho. For example, they have developed a system for climbing morete palm trees and other large trees in the rainforest to harvest fruit without needing to cut the trees down. They have developed equipment for processing morete palm fruits and other foraged items from the jungle into preserved foodstuffs, skin and health care products, essential oils and natural medicines. And they’re developing new approaches to making biochar for water treatment and soil amendment from local waste biomass that otherwise is burned for disposal.
DO 178 - Returning from abroad w/ Long Story Farms
Ashley speaks with Geoffrey, @longstoryfarms, about his adventures away from home, including time spent in Chile, and his moving back home to be a productive member of his community.
DO 177 - Ecological wastewater treatment w/ Feidhlim Harty and Ashley
Ashley and Feidhlim Harty of Ireland talk about ecological approaches to water, sewage treatment, constructed wetlands, and more.
Feidhlim runs FH Wetland Systems - Creating Spaces for Nature. Find more info at: https://www.wetlandsystems.ie
DO 176 - Wendell Berry Book Club recap W/ Ashley, Donald, AC, Tiffani, and Joel
Join our book club community as Ashley, Donald, AC, Tiffani, and Joel gather to discuss the timeless wisdom of Wendell Berry. Delve into the captivating world of his works, exploring profound insights, reflections, and engaging conversations that promise to leave you inspired and enlightened.
DO 175 - Tres and Simon ask what are we gonna do with the suburbs?
Tres and Simon delve into the urgent question: What are we going to do with the suburbs? As they discuss the repercussions of unrestrained suburban expansion and its impact on the environment, you'll gain insights into the challenges of unchecked growth, from encroaching wildlife to insurance woes. Join the conversation to explore alternative approaches to suburban living and sustainable urban development.
DO 174 - Modern Nomadism w/ Andy, Keturah and Ashley
Ashley sits down with Andy and Keturah to talk about a future-oriented nomadic culture, drawing from the best of the past and the present. They also drop some exciting news at the beginning of the chat!
Follow Andy and Keturah on twitter:
Read Andy’s substack at:
DO 173 - Rebuilding Before the Collapse with Elle, Chaos, and Jason
Jason speaks with Elle (@neolithicrnsnc ) and Chaos (@chaosprime) about their village project World Tree house (@WorldTreeHealth ), Elle’s focus on creating a healing and meditation center and Chaos’s focus on building out the infrastructure for an off grid community. Along the way they discuss their diagnosis of the trajectory of society and how they see their project as a way to “rebuild before the collapse”
DO 172 - Prepping with Jonathan Rawles, Roland Gunn and Ashley
Ashley and Roland talk with Jonathan Rawles, son of famous survivalist James Wesley Rawles about religion, localism in the inner mountain west, the state of the redoubt movement and our thoughts on white nationalism.
DO 171 - Building the Regenerators Network with Ed Bourgeois, Ashley, and Jason
Ashley and Jason speak with Ed Bourgeois about his long history in the regenerative agriculture movement, the importance of holistic science, good soil management as the foundation, and his work now building peer to peer networks among farmers working towards a regenerative transition
DO 170 - Coming Home w/ Ashley and Nate
Nate helps Ashley think through the idea of returning home from Uruguay to Chicago by reflecting on his own story of homecoming.
DO 169 - The Best of Times, The Worst of Times with Will Caverly, Going Godward, and Jason
Will, GG, and Jason discuss Will’s eclectic background researching ‘urban renewal’, the cyclic nature of society, urban decline and polarization, as well as his ‘escape’ to the exurbs to become a low-tech, permacultural, self-sufficient homesteader and the reality checks he’s received in terms of producing enough food and battling invasive species.
Will Caverly lives on a permaculture homestead in Southeastern Pennsylvania with his family. He writes at his substack, The Mercenary Pen, and most of his work can be found at www.willcaverly.com. His recent article for Front Porch Republic, "There's No More Room: Toward an Anarcho-Pastoralism", reflects on his ten years of homesteading in response to civilizational decay. He is currently working on a book on the intersection of eminent domain and environmentalism in mid-20th century Philadelphia.
DO 168 - Silvopasture with Drake Larson, Nate, and Jason
Drake, Nate, and Jason talk about Silvopasture, Drake’s experience with it, and Nate’s plans for it. What it is, why it has so much potential for both food production and ecological restoration, the central role of water management, keyline design, carbon myopia, ecological prefiguration, and the numerous beings that are supporting our efforts.
DO 167 - Doomer Optimism Literary Hour
Tessa Carman and JC Scharl join Donald and Going Godward to talk about poetry, translation, and motherhood in the first-ever Doomer Optimism Literary Hour.
Tessa Carman is a writer and teacher. You can find more of her work at TessaCarman.wordpress.com.
Jane Clark Scharl is an American poet, playwright, and critic. Her poetry has appeared in many American and European outlets, including the BBC, The Hopkins Review, The New Ohio Review, The American Journal of Poetry, The Lamp, Measure Review, and others. Her criticism has appeared in Dappled Things, Fare Forward, Plough Quarterly, and others. Her first verse drama, Sonnez Les Matines, was published by Wiseblood Books in February 2023. The play had its theatrical debut in NYC on February 21st, 2023 at the Nubox Theatre.
DO 166 - Biochar Water Treatment in Malawi with Richard, Ahmad, and Josh
Over the past several months Josh Kearns has been remote mentoring a small group of Stanford students working on biochar water treatment (mostly though one student contact). Two students just wrapped up a 10-week implementation trip in Malawi. He recorded the conversation the night before they were flying out to come back to Western Civilization. He wanted to talk to them while they were still fresh off the experience and in-context, before the mind-warp of readjusting to life in the US.
In this conversation they talked about their project and what insights and experiences they gained, what they found surprising, challenging, etc. They discussed the utility of field-based hands-on experiential education versus formal university education. They had some interesting things to say, including that living in the campus environment (in campus housing where cleaning is all done for you, eating at the dining hall where you don't have to prepare your own food, etc.) many students don't feel like "adults." Managing their own housing upkeep and meals was a salient point for them it seems.
DO 165 - Narrative Exchange with Evan Barker and Jason
Evan and Jason talk about Narrative Exchange, a program of bringing people from very different backgrounds and sharing stories to foster greater empathy and compassion. They also talk about many related topics including the internet and polarization, the loss of community life, Dunbar’s number, building new communities across differences, public schooling vs. homeschooling, how to be a responsible newcomer to a region, and much more
DO 164 - Evan Meyer on Global Supply Chains
Ashley and Evan discuss global supply chains and suggest a synthesis between globalism and localism.
DO 163 - Small Farm Future meets Lean Logic with Chris Smaje, Shaun Chamberlin, and Jason
Chris, Shaun, and Jason record a follow up conversation to an earlier one between Shaun and Jason (found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yni0F-3VVxo&t=1174s ) talking about the intersections of Chris’s vision of a Small Farm Future and Shaun’s of Lean Logic, and particularly the cultural and spiritual dimensions of collapse and regeneration, as well as the more near term conflicting urban/rural class politics involved
DO 162 - Braxton McCoy with Roland Gunn and Ashley
Braxton sits down with Ashley and Roland to discuss localism, agriculture, community, and that controversial new country music singer Oliver Anthony!
DO 161 - American Literature with James Pogue, Ketruah Lamb, Adirondacker and Donald Antenen
James, Keturah, Andy, and Donald talk about America and literature and American literature, its limits and possibilities.
DO 160 - Overcoming barriers to entry in regenerative agriculture - Chuck Lewis of Sheraton Park Farms and Josh Kearns
Chuck and Saundra Lewis operate Sheraton Park Farms – a 70-acre regenerative farming operation nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountain of Wilkes County, NC.
Starting from a single chicken tractor with 25 broiler chickens in 2018, Chuck and Saundra have grown their operation to raising meat birds, egg layers, turkeys, pigs, and cows – and earning a respectable income.
In this fast-paced conversation, Josh and Chuck discuss economic, practical, and psychological barriers to getting more people involved in diverse, decentralized, small-scale regenerative ag, along with tools, tips, tricks, and ideas for overcoming those barriers.
They talk about Chuck’s philosophy for utilizing social media and YouTube to promote an authentic experience for Sheraton Park’s customer to know their food and their farmers.
They highlight challenges, weaknesses, and pitfalls, and lessons learned for bootstrapping a small farm operation and cultivating a customer base willing to pay a premium for healthy, local, clean meat from ethically raised animals.
Sheraton Park Farms YouTube channel:
DO 159 - Medical Nemesis and David Cayley with Donald
David Caley and Medical Nemesis join Donald to talk about Ivan Illich.
Medical Nemesis wonders why Ivan Illich’s book Medical Nemesis has not taken hold in any part of our culture and how to make practical use of this knowledge. @Medical_Nemesis / https://medicalnemesis.substack.com
David Cayley is a Toronto-based Canadian writer and broadcaster, who is known for documenting the philosophy of prominent thinkers of the 20th century - Ivan Illich, Northrop Frye, George Grant, and Rene Girard. His biography of Ivan Illich is available from Penn State University Press: https://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-08812-9.html
DO 158 - Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve with Kristina Bostick, Patrick Heizer, and Jason
In this episode, Jason and Patrick Heizer speak to Kristina Bostick about the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve. Directly northwest of Washington DC, Montgomery County is Maryland's most populated county, with well over one million residents. In 1980, the Montgomery County Council made one of the most significant land-use decisions in US history by creating the Agricultural Reserve. Heralded as one of the best examples of land conservation policies in the country, the Agricultural Reserve encompasses 93,000 contiguous acres – almost a third of the country’s land. Today, the Reserve comprises hundreds of working farms that produce a variety of products plus trails and parks for public use. Moreover, it provides habitat for wildlife, helps the region meet its clean water commitments to the Chesapeake Bay, hosts educational field trips for schools and is a hub of agritourism, and much more, all within 30 minutes of Washington, DC. Kristina Bostick is Senior Conservation Associate at the Montgomery Countryside Alliance (https://www.mocoalliance.org/). She grew up in Montgomery County (hiking Sugarloaf every year on her birthday) and has returned after a number of years in North Carolina where she earned her Masters in Public Administration and worked on numerous environmental issues, including stormwater mitigation and greening local governments. Kristina values all the ways the Ag Reserve benefits the Chesapeake Bay region but nothing beats the excitement of a weekly CSA box or the first peaches of summer, all grown right here! Patrick Heizer is a simple guy. He is a husband and a father who is a research & development biomedical engineer at AstraZeneca and a permaculture farmer in Frederick County, Maryland. He writes The Counterpoint substack and can be found on Twitter @PatrickHeizer (https://twitter.com/PatrickHeizer). Montgomery Countryside Alliance is a small (but mighty!) nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of Montgomery County's 40-year commitment to thriving farms - the Agricultural Reserve. The Reserve is a unique zoning framework that has prioritized growth near transit and keeping small family farms on the landscape near a busy metro area. MCA's Programs include: Land Link - Matching new and expanding farmers with landowners offering long-term leases in Montgomery County (http://www.mocolandlink.org/) Re-Leaf the Reserve - MCA's program in partnership with Park and Planning's Tree Montgomery to re-forest stream buffers with forest conservation easements (https://www.mocoalliance.org/releaf.html) Join us for the Ride for the Reserve Bike Tour on 9/24/23 (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ride-for-the-ag-reserve-bike-tour-and-festival-tickets-676420862007?aff=oddtdtcreator) Our Linktree: https://linktr.ee/mocoalliance Other resources I shared: Land For Good (Land Purchase and Lease Resources) (https://landforgood.org/) Future Harvest Farmer Training (https://futureharvest.org/programs/beginner-farmer-training-program/) ECO City Incubator/Training (https://www.ecoffshoots.org/) Pro Publica Interactive Climate Changes Map of US (https://projects.propublica.org/climate-migration/)
DO 157 - Appalachia, Localism, and Storytelling with Farahn Morgan and Jason
In this episode Jason talks with Farahn Morgan about growing up in Appalachia, moving to DC and going to college, moving back home near her family and community, and her work in news, journalism, and how she frames it: storytelling. They dig into the nature of ‘expertise’, culture, folk traditions and how they are exploited, making a living in the modern political economy and the difficulties of doing that while still preserving traditional lifeways, the blessing and curse of the coal industry, the current story she’s working on looking into wildcrafting and how it connects to the Cherokee side of her ancestry, deaths of despair, the importance of choosing to build a home and connect to place despite the currents working against it, the importance of learning from elders, her views on the Foxfire series, book recommendations for understanding Appalachia, and much more. *Note, there is a bonus section at the end where the formal conversation wrapped up but they accidentally didn’t stop recording the more informal discussion, which they both decided to leave in Bio: Farahn is a writer living and working at home in Appalachia. After spending nearly a decade in politics and media in Washington, D.C., she returned to Southwest Virginia and Eastern Kentucky to be close to her family, understand their history and traditions more intimately, and re-establish her connection to the land and herself. She is still learning. Read her words at http://LongRoadHome.substack.com, County Highway, RealClearBooks & Culture, The Washington Examiner, and WrongSpeak.
DO 156 - Dark Optimism, Lean Logic, and Surviving the Future with Shaun Chamberlin and Jason
Shaun and Jason have a conversation about some of the major themes and projects that Shaun has been developing in collaboration with others, including Dark Optimism, Lean Logic, and Surviving the Future. They discuss biophysical collapse, the prefiguration of what comes after, what the trajectories of George Monbiot and Paul Kingsnorth indicate about the larger society, how Doomer Optimism follows in the footsteps and shares an affinity with Dark Optimism but with an American sensibility, and much more
Shaun’s Bio: Shaun quit his job in 2005 to explore full-time the beliefs and 'myths’ charting society's course towards collapse. And, in particular, how we might - individually or collectively - change direction before we end up where we are headed. He collaborated closely with the late David Fleming, later bringing his award-winning 'Lean Logic' and 'Surviving the Future' to posthumous publication, and now leads Sterling College's online program ‘Surviving the Future: Conversations for Our Time’, grounded in the books. He co-founded Transition Town Kingston and in 2009 authored the Transition movement’s second book, before becoming chair of the Ecological Land Co-operative and, later, one of Extinction Rebellion's first arrestees. Meanwhile, he puts the theory into practice as one of six custodians of Ireland's legendary free pub and land-based community 'The Happy Pig'. Website: http://darkoptimism.org The Happy Pig: http://mstdn.social/@DarkOptimism/109410285273214948… ‘Surviving the Future: Conversations for Our Time’ online programs and community through Vermont's Sterling College: http://ce.sterlingcollege.edu/surviving-the-future… Books: http://darkoptimism.org/books Free access to Lean Logic in full: http://leanlogic.online Shaun’s personal mailing list: http://flemingpolicycentre.org.uk/newsletter/
DO 155 - Regenerative Community Land Trusts with Alex Corren and Jason
In this episode Jason speaks with Alex Corren (@arcorren ) about his organization ReCommon (@ReCommon_Land) which aims to address the logistics and financing around land access and tenure for regenerative stewardship, in particular catalyzing the creation of a network of bioregionally embedded regenerative land trusts. They also touch on the shared vision of ‘networked bioregionalism’ as the most viable and hopeful path for the future
Bio: Alex is an impact entrepreneur, regenerative systems architect, and permaculture designer living in the mountains of Colorado. He has experience in various fields of ecology, science, and technology with a focus on systemic solutions to the converging crises of our time. Alex is the Executive Director and co-founder of ReCommon, a nonprofit building tool for regenerative community land tenure. In particular, ReCommon is building a platform to support a globally distributed network of resilient bioregional communities and landscape regeneration.
Personal Twitter: https://twitter.com/arcorren
ReCommon Twitter: https://twitter.com/ReCommon_Land (just changed from our old handle @RegenCLT … might have mentioned the old one in the podcast recording),
DO 154 - Small Farm Republic with John Klar and Josh Kearns
John Klar is an attorney, regenerative farmer, and author living in Vermont. He has just published the book “Small Farm Republic” (Chelsea Green). This book gallops through major themes describing the economic, environmental, political, and social unsustainability of industrial ag, and issues a passion-inflected call for a return to the land and small-to-mid-scale regenerative farming practices. Along the way John acknowledges his influences and sources of inspiration through well-chosen quotes from luminaries including Wendell Berry, Joel Salatin, Chris Smaje, Aldo Leopold, and EF Schumacher.
Klar’s writing penetrates complex issues of climate change, soil erosion, biodiversity loss, water overuse and pollution, reliance on fossil fuels and toxic agrichemicals, animal welfare, and human health. While many of these topics are stock-in-trade for those identified as progressives or on the political left, Klar makes a compelling case why self-identified conservatives must care about these challenges and take action. Ultimately his arguments transcend superficial left/right, liberal/conservative distinctions and point the way towards a common ground that humans can come together on to heal our communities, our economy, and the ecosphere.
In this jaunting conversation, Klar and Kearns talk about Klar’s Vermont farming experiences where he and his wife Jackie have currently or previously raised sheep cows, goats, and draft horses; developed a goat milk and cheese small business; fought for on-farm slaughter rights with VT state regulators; and raised children in an empowering and healthy environment.
John’s writings on farming, politics, and culture can be found at or accessed through his Substack site: johnklar.substack.com
DO 153 - Appalachian Dirt Mage with D. Mason and Jason
In this episode, Jason speaks with D. Mason (@dkpmason) about his life growing up in ghettos, trailer parks, and the woods in Alabama and Appalachia, learning to live off the land and becoming the Dirt Mage, getting a felony for growing and trading weed and mushrooms which many venture capitalists are now getting rich on, anarcho-communism, community empowering technology, the pitfalls of both the dissident Right and techno-modern Left, localism and cultural tensions, the importance and limits of difficult conversations, and much more
DO 152 - Medical Nemesis and Matthew Loftus with Donald
Matthew Loftus and Medical Nemesis join occasional first-time host Donald to talk about medicine and Ivan Illich.
Medical Nemesis wonders why Ivan Illich’s book Medical Nemesis has not taken hold in any part of our culture and how to make practical use of this knowledge.
DO 151 - Game B with Jim Rutt, Ashley, and Jason
Ashley and Jason interview Jim Rutt, co-founder of Game B, a complexity-informed social movement aimed at creating systems change towards an intelligent and cooperative society. They discuss the evolution of Game B, the theory of change, current efforts to develop viable ‘proto-B’ communities, overlaps with Doomer Optimism, and much more Jim Rutt is the former CEO of Network Solutions. The New York Times once referred to him as “the Internet’s bad boy” due to his reputation for creative mischief. He sold Network Solutions at the peak of the Dot Com boom and then went into scientific research. Jim has been affiliated with the Santa Fe Institute since 2002, serving as Chairman from 2009 thru 2012. A few of his other projects are summarized in his mini-bio at https://www.santafe.edu/people/profile/jim-rutt.
DO 150 - Geopolitics and Ideology with Chris Mott and Josh Kearns
A rollicking conversation with Chris Mott of "Woke Imperium" fame. We checked in on geopolitics and ideology and how these have influenced current events and crazy trends in journalism, academia, gov't, NGOs, and the PMC in general.
One fulcrum of the conversation was how the DC pride celebration has evolved over recent years to be dominated by the military-industrial-complex (Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, the CIA, McKinsey, the Pentagon, etc. all doing big floats and extravagant productions attesting to their woke cred), and how all this reflects the consummation of the marriage of progressive culture war social justice politics with neconservatism, and the seamless interplay between supposedly humanitarian intervention and militarism in the Establishments monomaniacal neoliberal messianism.
DO 149 - Break-It-Down Austin with Jeff Paine with Josh Kearns
Break-It-Down Austin – Food waste hauling, composting & creative resource recovery
Jeff Paine and Josh Kearns
Jeff Paine is co-founder and co-owner with his wife Mel MacFarlane of the Austin, TX based Break-It-Down.
Formed in 2009 out of the couples’ rented duplex to provide a yoga studio, a coffee shop, and a juice bar with a way to steer their compostable waste away from the landfill and into something ecologically friendly, Break-It-Down has grown into business serving around 800 clients in the greater Austin area, and as far south as San Antonio and as far north as Waco.
In this conversation, Jeff and Josh sketch the history of Break-It-Down, the challenges they have faced, the successes they’ve attained, the quirks, the headaches, the lessons learned, and the creativity that goes into their innovative R&D processes for figuring out better things to do with food waste than entombing it in a landfill. In their schema, composting is the lowest rung on the resource recovery ladder. Their current food waste upcycling repertoire includes high-end dog food and treats [theconsciouspet.life], and nutrient rich bonemeal fertilizer for gardeners and landscapers.
In this wide-ranging convo Jeff and Josh (@hillbillynarnia) talk about the advantages and disadvantages of an academic path in life compared with on-the-job-training earned from developing a small business. And they talk about how this affects Jeff and Mel’s philosophy as parents, in particular how it informs their non-traditional approach to schooling for their two sons.
DO 148 - Neighbors Together Oakland with Seneca Scott and Jason
Jason speaks with Seneca Scott (@SenecaSpeaks21 ) about his life and work leading up to and including the founding of Neighbors Together Oakland, which focuses on community safety, localized agricultural systems, thriving local businesses, and accessible housing. They also discuss building ‘parallel systems that will remain resilient as our current one’s collapse’, and how this relates to local political engagement
About Seneca Scott:
Seneca moved to Oakland in 2012 to work as the East Bay Director for SEIU Local 1021, representing and negotiating improvements to wages and working conditions for thousands of workers in East Bay cities, most notably Oakland. It didn’t take long for Seneca to fall in love with the town for its independent spirit and love of nature.
Moving to the Lower Bottoms, he immediately went to work in the community, co-founding Bottoms Up Community Gardens and Oakhella. Seneca likes to say that all of his endeavors serve the same purpose, helping to bring Oakland Neighbors closer together.
In 2020, Seneca ran for City Council to bring a voice to his neighbors that he felt was being ignored. His Neighbors Together movement has since exploded across the city, demanding accountability from its Mayor and City Council.
Seneca has worked as a Labor leader and community organizer for over 20 years. He earned his B.S. from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
He has served as a Director for various unions, as well as a consultant, negotiating contracts for Bay Area public sector employees. In addition to organizing, Seneca is a cook, farmer and chess enthusiast. Seneca ran for Mayor in 2022, attracting widespread national media attention for the campaign’s independently minded, pragmatic approach to Oakland’s daunting and intersecting crises of homelessness, drug tourism, poverty, theft and violent crime.
On the heels of the campaign, NTO is currently working to expand our urban farming efforts. We hope to engender holistic spaces that nurture the minds and bodies of Oakland Neighbors, building safe resilient communities organized around the issues that matter most.
DO 147 - Left Conservatism with Ashley and Nate
Ashley and Nate discuss the concept of Left Conservatism in a wide ranging conversation about what is sacred, the market, the state, and the process of developing politics and relationships.
DO 146 - Orthodoxy and Noise with Alana Nickels, Donald, and Keturah
Donald and Keturah discuss Orthodoxy and noise with Alana Nickels.
Alana "Nickels" Solomon is a former train kid and future Matushka, writer of "Hobo Nickels", painter of icons, and wife of Deacon Mark Solomon, who currently attends St. Tikhon's Orthodox Seminary in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Buy and subscribe to her zine: http://alananickels.bigcartel.com Learn more: http://alananickels.com
DO 145 - The False Promises of Green Energy with Bill Rees, John Mulrow, and Ashley
Ashley speaks with Bill Rees, the inventor of the ecological footprint, and John Mulrow about the false promises of the green energy "transition," degrowth, and whether or not social change happens by design or by disaster.
John Mulrow is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental and Ecological Engineering at Purdue University. His research focuses on how environmental impact forecasting tools such as Life Cycle Assessment and Greenhouse gas footprinting can better account for the feedback effects of efficiency improvement. He leads a degrowth colloquium at Purdue, serves as Co-President of DegrowUS, and is on the Leadership Council of the Gaian Way.
"Has the Economy Outgrown the Planet? An Introduction to Degrowth"
‘Til Sustainability Do You Part: Arranging a Marriage Between Degrowth and the Circular Economy
The cyber-consciousness of environmental assessment: how environmental assessments evaluate the impacts of smart, connected, and digital technology
And, of course, the quote about plastics saving whales! Found in this re-print of the original Celluloid Mfg Co. advertisement: https://www.laphamsquarterly.org/technology/fire-starter
William Rees is a population ecologist, ecological economist, Professor Emeritus and former Director of the University of British Columbia’s School of Community and Regional Planning in Vancouver, Canada. He researches the implications of global ecological trends for the longevity of civilization, with special foci on urban (un)sustainability and cultural/cognitive barriers to rational public policy. Prof Rees is best known as the originator and co-developer with his former student, Dr Mathis Wackernagel of ‘ecological footprint analysis’ (EFA), a quantitative tool that estimates human demands on ecosystems and the extent to which humanity is in ‘ecological overshoot.’ He has authored hundreds of peer reviewed and popular articles on these and related topics. Dr Rees is a founding member and former President of the Canadian Society for Ecological Economics; a founding Director of the One Earth Living Initiative (https://www.oneearthliving.org/); a Fellow of the Post-Carbon Institute and an Associate Fellow of the Great Transition Initiative. Internationally recognized, Prof Rees was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 2006; received both the international Boulding Memorial Prize in Ecological Economics and a Blue Planet Prize (jointly with Dr Mathis Wackernagel) in 2012; the Herman Daly Award (in ecological economics) in 2015 and the Dean’s Medal of Distinction (UBC Faculty of Applied Science) in 2016. He was a full member of the Club of Rome from 2014-2019.
William Rees, PhD, FRSC—Bionote
DO 144 - Saying No to a Farm Free Future w/ Chris Smaje, Ashley Colby and Jason Snyder
A discussion of Chris' forthcoming book Saying No to a Farm-Free Future
“Everyone in the food business needs to read this book. . . . [A] lively and superbly written polemic.”—Joel Salatin, co-founder of Polyface Farm
A defense of agroecological, small-scale farming and a robust critique of an industrialized future.
One of the few voices to challenge The Guardian‘s George Monbiot on the future of food and farming (and the restoration of nature) is academic, farmer and author of A Small Farm Future Chris Smaje.
In Saying NO to a Farm-Free Future, Smaje presents his defense of small-scale farming and a robust critique of Monbiot’s vision for an urban and industrialized future.Responding to Monbiot’s portrayal of an urban, high-energy, industrially manufactured food future as the answer to our current crises, and its unchallenged acceptance within the environmental discourse, Smaje was compelled to challenge Monbiot’s evidence and conclusions. At the same time, Smaje presents his powerful counterargument – a low-carbon agrarian localism that puts power in the hands of local communities, not high-tech corporates.In the ongoing fight for our food future, this book will help you to understand the difference between a congenial, ecological living and a dystopian, factory-centered existence.
“Chris Smaje has laid down an indictment – as unremitting as it is undeniable – that cuts through the jargon-filled, techno-worshipping agricultural futurists who promise silver-bullet fixes for having your cake and eating it too. This brilliant and compelling book is at once hopeful and persuasive about the future of food.”—Dan Barber, chef at Blue Hill and author of The Third Plate
Saying NO to a Farm-Free Future: The Case For an Ecological Food System and Against Manufactured Foods https://www.chelseagreen.com/product/saying-no-to-a-farm-free-future/
DO 143 - Wilderness Survival Skills School with Kate Parsons, Adam Mayfield, and Ashley
Ashley speaks with Kate Parsons and Adam Mayfield about their wilderness survival skills school, the role of art in society, and mindfulness in practice. A wild ride! PRIMAL U designs and implements one-of-a-kind courses with experts in wilderness first aid, leadership, survival techniques, sustainability and mindfulness training. Primal U’s mission is to train individuals holistically, providing a space to learn and grow in an outdoor setting. Our new Primal U Artist Lecture Series showcases the practices of artists and creatives working in and with the natural world. Primal U is the brainchild of Rob Mullins, Kate Parsons, and Adam Mayfield. Parsons is an artist, educator, and co-founder of the virtual reality studio FLOAT. An Assistant Professor of Digital Arts at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA and Instructor at Art Center College of Design, Parsons is a Montana-native who knows that country life and self-sufficiency still runs in her blood. Mayfield, who is from Los Angeles, is a mindfulness specialist, an actor (Ford vs. Ferrari, All My Children) and professional survival instructor. He is a longtime alum of Boulder Outdoor Survival School, where he taught traditional living skills to folks from all walks of life, from corporate executives and military personnel to artists and political activists. Adam is also a mentor for Inward Bound Mindfulness Education, a nonprofit organization that holds both traditional and outdoor excursion retreats across the US, Canada, and the UK, teaching mindfulness to teenagers and adults. Mullins, who hails from Ohio, is a homesteader, life & leadership coach, outdoor enthusiast, ultra-marathoner, and former executive at a Forbes 107 company. As a pharmacist, Rob has a lifetime of helping others and has had tremendous results coaching and mentoring leaders for career success. In addition he holds ACC accreditation from the International Coach Federation, is an Authorized Partner for Everything DiSC and is a registered Maine Outdoor Recreation and Hunting Guide. The three met when Parsons attended one of the wilderness training camps taught by Mullins and Mayfield at Thomas Coyne Survival Schools—one of the top survival schools worldwide. Since then, they have banded together to create a unique, hybrid curriculum: A combination of straightforward survival skills, wilderness first aid training, permaculture, mindfulness techniques and leadership coaching. Primal U Montana First Session: June 16, 17, 18 Second Session: June 23, 24, 25
DO 142 - Eric Miller w/ Ashley Colby
Ashley speaks with Christopher Lasch’s biographer, Eric Miller, about all things Lasch, localism, and his forthcoming book on Wendell Berry.
Eric Miller is professor of history and the humanities at Geneva College, in Beaver Falls, PA, where he directs the college’s honors program. He is the author of Hope in a Scattering Time: A Life of Christopher Lasch (2010) and Glimpses of Another Land: Political Hopes, Spiritual Longing (2012), and co-editor of Confessing History: Explorations in Christian Faith and the Historian’s Vocation (2010). He was the project director of a grant that assembled a team of international scholars to study Brazilian evangelicalism. Their book, Brazilian Evangelicalism in the Twenty-First Century: An Inside and Outside Look, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2019. Eric’s essays have appeared in a range of publications, including Commonweal, Front Porch Republic, and Christianity Today. He is the editor of the online journal of opinion Current. You can find his essays for Current here.
DO 141 - Steve Mouzon w/ Ashley and Don
Don and Ashley chat with Steve Mouzon about all things New Urbanism, Wrath of Gnon, and the right approach to the 15 minute city.
Steve Mouzon is an architect, urbanist, author, blogger, and photographer based in Tuscaloosa. He co-founded the Urban Guild, which was instrumental in the creation of the Katrina Cottages initiative. The Guild is the nexus of Project:SmartDwelling, which works to redefine the house to be much smaller and more sustainable. Steve speaks regularly across the US and abroad on sustainability issues. He blogs here on Original Green Stories, Useful Stuff, and We Do This Because... He also posts to the Original Green Twitter stream.