I used to work on Wall Street. I made (and spent) alot of money. Around 1999, I started to learn about energy and ‘limits’. I intuited that in my lifetime, and possibly quite soon, global energy production (and therefore consumption) would peak and decline. A big deal it seemed. Eventually I quit my job to study the topics involved in our human ecosystem: biology, ecology, energy, environment, human behavior and economics – full time.
As a nation we use 100 times what our bodies require calorically. This is comprised of ‘exosomatic organs’ like airplanes, or propane tanks, or microwaves. But while our use of this energy and resources grows our economy (via GDP), it has made us lose sight of the more qualitative aspects of both our humanity and the natural world. We are loathe to ‘let go of banana’ which is progress measured by ‘stuff’. Letting go might open up some surprising possibilities.
Thinking about these issues takes up a lot of my time. It’s such a fascinating, if not overwhelming topic. Sometimes the thinking leads to writing, and so this site.
A few datapoints:
I have a Masters Degree in Finance from the University of Chicago, and a PhD in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont. I’m on the Board of Directors of the Post Carbon Institute, the Institute for Integrated Economic Research (where I work part time) and the Institute for the Study of Energy and our Future. I am working on projects dealing with our society adapting to the end of growth – part education, part communication. I live in Wisconsin with 3 dogs, 6 cats, 4 horses and one girlfriend. I am also in a secret eco-jedi plotting cabal learning machiavellian misdirection for a better future…