Transition Milwaukee

Rebuilding Community Resilience & Self-Reliance

All Blog Posts (170)

Bio-Sphere Earth

Bio-Sphere Earth


When European pilgrims, pioneers, explorers, trappers, and slave-driving planters began their mis-taking of America, there were, or course, civilizations here already.  But they were unseen or dismissed as “savage,” and in large part because they had an entirely different relationship to the land.  Rather than overpowering the continent, Native peoples had adapted to this land, had developed “sustainable” systems, and had managed the flow of energy in ways…


Added by Erik Lindberg on February 8, 2014 at 6:56pm — No Comments

The World is Not Flat



We live on a spherical and thus finite planet, a fact that is not contested even at the far fringe of the GOP or the most intoxicated heights of Wall Street where wizards summon an ever-expanding supply of money out of the ether.  While a sphere is  by all measures fully contained, a flat earth suggests the possibility of infinitely receding horizons with fresh land and new spaces beneath; and thus on a flat earth one can entertain more cogently the prospect of…


Added by Erik Lindberg on February 8, 2014 at 6:30pm — No Comments

Agency On Demand? Holmgren, Hopkins, and the Historical Problem of Agency

Agency on Demand?  Holmgren, Hopkins, and the Historical Problem of Agency.

The recent debate between David Holmgren and Rob Hopkins (and others) has my head spinning.  I am deeply conflicted over which view I support.  More interestingly yet, this last phase “which view I support” now appears in a new light and is itself ripe for reflection.  Does it matter what view I, or any other individual, actually support?  How much, if any, impact can we make on the direction of…


Added by Erik Lindberg on January 17, 2014 at 11:30am — 3 Comments

The Mis-Taking of America

 America was not infinite; it only seemed that way to early European explorers, conquerors, and settlers for whom the size of the known world had suddenly doubled and the quantity of effectively unclaimed resources increased by far more than that.  This sudden immeasurable and unearned abundance, it is clear, authorized a new set of cultural practices that would not have been deemed appropriate by a people confronted by visible boundaries and limits.  But I am less concerned with past crimes…


Added by Erik Lindberg on January 3, 2014 at 3:04pm — No Comments

How I Became an Ex-Liberal

In 2010 Scott Walker was elected Governor of my home state of Wisconsin.  Although he ran on the typical Republican program of cutting spending and providing “tax relief” to the wealthy in order to boost the economy, most of us were surprised when Walker unveiled his more draconian plan of ending the rights of government employees to engage in collective bargaining.  Walker argued that he was only trying to provide more flexibility to local municipalities struggling to balance their budgets,…


Added by Erik Lindberg on December 6, 2013 at 7:30pm — 3 Comments

Notes from a Born Again Soil Worshipper

In modernity, we value progress and individualism, which are part of a constellation of values that also includes mobility, acquisition, and change.  We are suspicious of social ties that may bind, even as we long for connection, for these ties limit values that are even more important to us than that.  We privilege individual excellence over group cohesiveness and thus valorize the restless and dissatisfied seeker, especially when he [sic] pursues innovation.  And “innovation,” in…


Added by Erik Lindberg on November 15, 2013 at 11:30am — No Comments

The Audacity of a Low Energy Future

The basic truths about our unsustainable way of life are difficult truths to swallow.  When I present my research on energy and the environment, regardless of the setting, the response is usually either disbelief, despair, or both.  Sometimes the audience walks away in stunned silence.  Other times, the question and answer period is full of “what about. . . ?” questions: what about making biodiesel from algae?  What about tidal power? What about electric cars?  What about new…


Added by Erik Lindberg on November 11, 2013 at 5:19pm — No Comments

Unsustainability Now!

Concerns over sustainability are usually directed towards the future--a pattern I have often been guilty of participating in. We talk about the environmental costs to our children and the world we will leave to them, the future consequences of our current action and inaction. Peak oil activists were likewise still using phrases like “after peak oil” well beyond its 2005 peak, as if it would be some great cataclysmic moment in the future.  Maintaining this future-oriented…


Added by Erik Lindberg on November 9, 2013 at 2:11pm — No Comments

Word Interlude

Word Interlude


You can tell a lot about a culture by considering the distinctions that are used to interpret the world and prescribe behavior.  Concepts get much of their meaning by way of contrast.  We would not have a very full concept of hot, for instance, if we hadn’t also experienced cold.  While we have a tendency to believe that most of the important distinctions we rely upon are permanently inscribed in the universe, a little cross-cultural and trans-historical…


Added by Erik Lindberg on July 7, 2013 at 11:00am — No Comments

Do the Math

Do the Math

The generally accepted equation for solving our global climate problem is simple—at least if you remove as a factor the web of human expectations and beliefs as well as the network of infrastructure and supply chains that keep most of the world’s 7 billion people alive.  This solution, which, it is also assumed, would alleviate any coming shortage of fossil fuels, is to end our dependence on oil, coal, and natural gas.   Or to put it more simply yet, the solution (and…


Added by Erik Lindberg on December 17, 2012 at 7:24am — 2 Comments

kickstart 'matireal' to change segregation in Milwaukee

I would like to ask Transition to back our campaign for matireal, a new permeable surface that we believe will be a catalyst to diversify Milwaukee.  We are at 11% of our goal; the campaign ends on November 27, and it's all-or-nothing.  We can do this, but we need your support!  Please check out our kickstarter*…


Added by keith hayes on November 3, 2012 at 8:30pm — 1 Comment

Liberal Expectations

I am currently working on a book-length manuscript with a  provisional title of Liberal Expectations.  In it I argue that the liberal world-view, and especially the expectations of most  liberals, prevent them (us) from grasping the reality and consequences of global warming, peak oil, and other resource depletion and environmental problems, or from taking significant action to address any of these.  I don’t focus on liberals because I think political conservatives, today, offer any…


Added by Erik Lindberg on October 17, 2012 at 1:00pm — No Comments

5 Stages of Climate Change Consequences

Five Stages of Climate Change Consequences


1)      Discomfort.  Hotter more uncomfortable summers.  Less snow in winter disrupts winter sports plans and desire to go to “Glacier” National Park.  Profits at ski resorts take a dive.

2)      Moderate disruption: with increasingly unpredictable weather, farming is much more difficult and there is more threat of severe weather events effecting our population centers.  Food prices rise and more CNN coverage devoted to…


Added by Erik Lindberg on October 7, 2012 at 9:00am — No Comments

Nice Press on Power Down Week

Just wanted to share some nice press that Transition Milwaukee and Power Down Week got this week.

Susan Bence - the environmental reporter from NPR did an interview with three people involved in this project.  Claire Moore, Dan Felix and Myself.

Check it out!

Added by Natalie Berland on July 10, 2012 at 7:47am — No Comments

Energy Independence Day- Power down table

Hey everyone, PDW should have a table at the Energy Independence Day. I am thinking of taking over the Compost Kids part of the event, so, are there others that are interested and willing to come and be part of a team at a table? Let me know- 414 975-2521.

Added by Claire Moore on June 21, 2012 at 1:02pm — No Comments

Scope on Milwaukee's Environmental Volunteer Organizations

In the summer of 2011, Milwaukee was lucky enough to have been visited by Molly Farison.  Molly is a student at Olin College of Engineering outside of Boston.  She spent her summer as an intern at Rockwell Automation, and doubled up the fun writing a thesis and comparison of 3 of Milwaukee’s Environmental Organizations; Growing Power, The Urban Ecology Center, and Transition…


Added by Jessica Cohodes on June 6, 2012 at 5:09pm — No Comments

film, "In Transition"

In search of someone that is skilled in post production color-correction,sound,graphics & editing with the goal of entering in the milwaukee film fest as well as a local screening before or during Power Down week.Deadline for film fest is june 15. I've done most of the leg work/have ducks in order...Thanx, Ken

Added by KEN KEEN on May 20, 2012 at 3:06pm — 1 Comment

EROEI discussed in Mechanical Engineering magazine

"Mechanical Engineering", the official magazine of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, in the May issue has a tagline on the cover of "Running on Empty" and and article inside on "Bang for the Buck" and a discussion of EROEI.  They've had articles previously about (essentially) Peak Oil, the need for alternative sources of energy, a transition away from fossil fuels, etc., but this is a different level, I think.  I might try to get  the original article he refers to, as his numbers…


Added by Ed Ellingson on April 30, 2012 at 12:36pm — 1 Comment

The paradox of wanting to be Bjorn again


As many in the Peak Everything education world know. Facts and figures   Charts and graphs   Just don't get through to people if the information is beyond their normal experience. You end up being as ineffectual as Ross Perot while running for president trying educate the public with big sheets of paper and  magic markers.  He was the butt of many jokes for actually using data to support his position. As with Jimmy Carter appealing to logic for all us to…

Added by tom brandstetter on February 25, 2012 at 5:00pm — No Comments

power down week 2012?

hi everyone,

I am not planning on being part of the organizing this year but last year there was lots of interest in doing another Power down Week this year so we have a date.   Natalie Berland is looking for some people who are interested in giving some real time to the project, anyone interested?  click on the doodle link below if you are then click on the times you could make it.  it can be just what we make it.    …


Added by Sarah Moore on January 13, 2012 at 9:15am — 1 Comment

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