Monday, March 27, 2023

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Mobilizing Georgia voters in a non-election year is crucial for voting rights groups, Philadelphians over 50 will play a major role in the mayoral primary, and the EPA is finalizing a new air quality rule.

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Michigan becomes the first state in decades to repeal a "right to work" law, death penalty opponents say President Biden is not keeping campaign promises to halt federal executions, and more states move to weaken child labor protection laws.

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Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

Opinion: A Survivable Future through Contraction, Not Expansion

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Monday, January 2, 2023   

It's 2023, and with it lawmakers will focus on some new, and plenty of old, problems. A retired Texas journalism professor believes while short-term solutions are important, they won't provide the answers humanity needs to sustain itself.

Robert Jensen is an emeritus professor at the School of Journalism and Media of the University of Texas at Austin. He said he believes a new level of frugality and self-imposed limitation is needed to address cascading economic and ecological crises.

"We have a lot of problems," said Jensen. "The oil companies are a problem. I would argue capitalism is a problem. But those are not the fundamental problem. The fundamental problem is the human capacity to go after all of the energy we can get our hands on."

Jensen is the co-author of a new book, "An Inconvenient Apocalypse: Environmental Collapse, Climate Crisis, and the Fate of Humanity."

He said anyone concerned about the future should embrace a new form of "radical politics" that isn't afraid to articulate big goals and focus on long-term change.

Jensen contended that frustration is inevitable given our inability as a species to confront problems in a way that leads to meaningful progress.

He argued that humans are a "species out of context" - living in a world where systems and structures of power lack the humility and modesty to succeed.

"We live in a very 'abnormal' world," said Jensen. "Human beings, for most of our evolutionary history, did not live in cities, did not live in nation states, did not live with this amount of energy. It's not only the size of the human population and the consumption - it's the scale of our societies, which are far beyond anything we evolved in."

Jensen said he believes harmful effects of the modern technological and industrial society prove that it's time to engage in rational planning and find solutions to transition out of it - which he says won't be easy or painless.

"The question is: 'What do we mean by solution?'" said Jensen. "If we're looking for solutions to keep eight billion people on this planet living at something like the aggregate level today - well, that's a problem that has no solution."

According to Jensen, the ability for nearly everyone to see the growth of disparity between the "haves and the have nots" is driving a new level of anger and anxiety.

"I grew up in post-World War II era, and I was told that there would always be more," said Jensen. "The only question really was how to distribute it fairly. Well, there isn't, I think, an honest way to sell that future anymore."




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