Ecology

They Thought They Had the Energy

They Thought They Had the Energy

Emily Grubert on Texas, energy infrastructure, and the prospects for renewables

It’s not just climate and weather that make these events bad. A lot of the time, it’s really the intersection between unusual events—events that are outside design parameters—and the fact that on the infrastructure side we have a lot of issues with long-term deferred maintenance and obsolescence.

The Remainder

The Remainder

He knew the sympathy he felt was a kind of trick

As Guy walked back to the compound now, his flashlight stabbed into visibility tunnels of the night woods, tangents along his curving path. Somehow at every step it was surprising that there wasn’t anyone but him in any of the tunnels. Like everyone else, he had fantasies of his own of living for himself in the years that were remaining — of giving up law, in his case. The trouble was, the remainder might stretch for as long as a century; no one knew. And Guy had reached the age past which it is no longer in one to become a different person, not even one’s true self. 

The Earth Dreams in Ritual

The Earth Dreams in Ritual

I’m developing an intimate relationship to weeds

What was I doing on Zoom? Everyone was outside. Doing the Corona Waltz: six-foot radius, smile, nod, little bow. It was at that point that I started to dream with the planet. I noticed weeds for the first time, as if they were long-lost little friends. Weeds also live in liminal space: ignored, trampled on, not even seen. And yet they grow together, egalitarian, in resilient communist clusters.

Electric Cars: An Update

Electric Cars: An Update

Doors rattle, touchscreens melt

Which automaker “had to his credit,” in the words of Michigan senator Arthur Vandenberg, “more erratic interviews, more dubious quotations, more blandly boasted ignorance of American history, more political nonsense and more dangerous propaganda than any other dependable citizen that we have known”? Well, Henry Ford. But also, a hundred years later, Elon Musk.

Move Always Toward a Deepening Obscurity

Move Always Toward a Deepening Obscurity

“Think like a mountain” is a very tall order

Lost causes, anachronisms: the theme of my life. Born to a small family farm, just before the death of the small family farm. Student and practitioner of print journalism, just before the demise of print journalism. Writer of books at a time when attention spans are being eroded in the acid bath of social media. Now: fire lookout. I sometimes try to imagine what’s next. Taxi driver? Typewriter repairman?

Enduring the Ending of the World

Enduring the Ending of the World

On Australia’s climate crisis

To those living in nations not yet consumed by fire, flood, or frost, we can report that for the most part, life seems to go on pretty much as it always has. There are some slight adjustments to be made. The morning routine now begins by checking the news to see which of the hundred or so fires raging out of control across the coast have joined forces to become super-fires, and which of these super-fires have united to become mega-fires.