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Toward a Sustainable Future
In this compelling and cogently argued book, Tom Wessels demonstrates how our current path toward progress, based on continual economic expansion and inefficient use of resources, runs absolutely contrary to three foundational scientific laws that govern all complex natural systems. It is a myth, he contends, that progress depends on a growing economy.
Wessels explains his theory with his three laws of sustainability: (1) the law of limits to growth, (2) the second law of thermodynamics, which exposes the dangers of increased energy consumption, and (3) the law of self-organization, which results in the marvelous diversity of such highly evolved systems as the human body and complex ecosystems. These laws, scientifically proven to sustain life in its myriad forms, have been cast aside since the eighteenth century, first by Western economists, political pragmatists, and governments attracted by the idea of unlimited growth, and more recently by a global economy dominated by large corporations, in which consolidation and oversimplification create large-scale inefficiencies in both material and energy usage.
Wessels makes scientific theory readily accessible by offering examples of how the laws of sustainability function in the complex systems we can observe in the natural world around us. He shows how systems such as forests can be templates for developing sustainable economic practices that will allow true progress. Demonstrating that all environmental problems have their source in a disregard for the laws of sustainability that is based on the myth of progress, he concludes with an impassioned argument for cultural change.
Eric Zencey’s frontal assault on the “infinite planet” foundations of neoconservative political thought Our planet is finite. Our political and economic systems were designed for an infinite planet. These difficult truths anchor the perceptive analysis offered in The Other Road to Serfdom and the Path to Sustainable Democracy. With wit, energy, and a lucid prose style, Eric Zencey identifies the key elements of “infinite planet” thinking that underlie our economics and our politics—and shows how they must change. Zencey’s title evokes F. A. Hayek, who argued that any attempt to set overall limits to free markets—any attempt at centralized planning—is “the road to serfdom.” But Hayek’s argument works only if the planet is infinite. If Hayek is right that planning and democracy are irreducibly in conflict, Zencey argues, then on a finite planet, “free markets operated on infinite planet principles are just the other road to serfdom.” The alternative is ecological economics, an emergent field that accepts limits to what humans can accomplish economically on a finite planet. Zencey explains this new school of thought and applies it to current political and economic concerns: the financial collapse, terrorism, population growth, hunger, the energy and oil industry’s social control, and the deeply rooted dissatisfactions felt by conservative “values” voters who have been encouraged to see smaller government and freer markets as the universal antidote. What emerges is a coherent vision, a progressive and hopeful alternative to neoconservative economic and political theory—a foundation for an economy that meets the needs of the 99% and just might help save civilization from ecological and political collapse.
Sometimes the characters in Ernest Hebert’s Darby Chronicles hew close to real life. When the author was a college student pulling shifts part time at a hospital laundry, he worked alongside a woman in her fifties—unadorned, sweet-natured, and with long gray-black hair that was her pride. Nights, Hebert frequented the beer bar in Keene, New Hampshire, where he encountered a sassy, self-empowered, forty-something bleached blonde who could bamboozle any man she met. Borrowing qualities from these women, Hebert would shape one of his most memorable characters: Estelle, the “witch” of the Jordan clan.
A major character in earlier Darby novels A Little More Than Kin and Whisper My Name, Estelle takes center stage in The Passion of Estelle Jordan. Presently she is sliding into late middle age, drawn to two lovers who could not be more different: the widowed farmer Avalon Hillary and a mysterious young punk Estelle calls Trans Am in honor of the car he drives. And there’s a threat, not to Estelle—she can take care of herself—but to Noreen Cook, a younger woman Estelle sees as a version of her own secret, vulnerable self. Putting herself in Noreen’s shoes to save her, Estelle may be in for way more than she bargained for. The Passion of Estelle Jordan, like that of Christ, is rife with sin, suffering, sacrifice, and perhaps redemption.
The Passion of Estelle Jordan is for anyone—male or female—going through a change of life.
Danger, Death, and Daring in the Mountains of the Northeast
An anthology of adventure and life-threatening dangers atop the peaks of the Northeast In the mountains, the difference between a pleasant day of hiking and a life-threatening disaster is as simple as a loose rock, a turned ankle, or a misjudged patch of ice. In an instant, even the most experienced and prepared of outdoorspersons can find themselves at the mercy of the elements (and their own choices) — and suddenly, sometimes tragically, the situation slips out their control. In this collection of over fifty tales of day hikes and long treks gone awry, the seasoned climber and writer Carol Stone White brings together some of her favorite tales of outdoor misadventure written by colleagues and fellow enthusiasts who have experienced the harsher side of climbing the peaks of New England and the Adirondacks. From freak falls to outrunning storms, from life-threatening hypothermia to the excitement of unlikely rescues, these tales inform as much as they entertain, teaching even the experienced climber that accidents can happen to anyone and that preparation and the ability to make split-second decisions can often mean the difference between life and death. Like sitting around the campfire sharing tales of terror and near death with your hiking buddies, this collection will appeal to the true outdoorsperson as well as the armchair adventurer.
How Red Turned Blue in the Green Mountain State
This is the story of one of the most exciting and important periods in Vermont history, and of the man most responsible for shaping it During Philip Hoff's six years as governor of the Green Mountain State (1963–1969), the politics, demographics, economics and government structure of Vermont changed in major and long-lasting ways, and a new liberal tradition took hold. He was an activist governor, pushing new ideas, concepts and programs and challenging the idea that Vermont governors should be caretakers in the way that his predecessors had been. Hoff very much believed that government was and should be the primary force in bringing about social change, saying that “Every significant decision of our time is going to be made in the governmental arena.” He was quick to support efforts to modernize government operations that he considered obsolete and inefficient. But his influence on the state was profound and long lasting. At the time he left office in January 1969, the Rutland Herald predicted that, “it will be impossible to turn back the clock to the political era of caretaker governors.” Hoff himself left office believing that his six years as an activist governor finally “got Vermont off the dime.” Bill Kearns put it more bluntly, saying that Hoff “picked up the state by the back of the neck and gave it a damned good, much needed shaking.”
Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, and the Battle for the Soul of Modern Art
In the fateful year of 1913, events in New York and Paris launched a great public rivalry between the two most consequential artists of the twentieth century, Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp. The New York Armory Show art exhibition unveiled Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase, a "sensation of sensations" that prompted Americans to declare Duchamp the leader of cubism, the voice of modern art. In Paris, however, the cubist revolution was reaching its peak around Picasso. In retrospect, these events form a crossroads in art history, a moment when two young bohemians adopted entirely opposite views of the artist, giving birth to the two opposing agendas that would shape all of modern art.
Today, the museum-going public views Pablo Picasso as the greatest figure in modern art. Over his long lifetime, Picasso pioneered several new styles as the last great painter in the Western tradition. In the rarefied world of artists, critics, and collectors, however, the most influential artist of the last century was not Picasso, but Marcel Duchamp: chess player, prankster, and a forefather of idea-driven dada, surrealism, and pop art. Picasso and the Chess Player is the story of how Picasso and Duchamp came to define the epochal debate between modern and conceptual art--a drama that features a who's who of twentieth-century art and culture, including Henri Matisse, Gertrude Stein, Andre Breton, Salvador Dali, and Andy Warhol. In telling the story, Larry Witham weaves two great art biographies into one tumultuous century.
Crime and Civil Disobedience in Colonial America
The seventeenth-century war on piracy is remembered as a triumph for the English state and her Atlantic colonies. Yet it was piracy and illicit trade that drove a wedge between them, imperiling the American enterprise and bringing the colonies to the verge of rebellion. In The Politics of Piracy, competing criminalities become a lens to examine England’s legal relationship with America.
In contrast to the rough, unlettered stereotypes associated with them, pirates and illicit traders moved easily in colonial society, attaining respectability and even political office. The goods they provided became a cornerstone of colonial trade, transforming port cities from barren outposts into rich and extravagant capitals. This transformation reached the political sphere as well, as colonial governors furnished local mariners with privateering commissions, presided over prize courts that validated stolen wares, and fiercely defended their prerogatives as vice-admirals. By the end of the century, the social and political structures erected in the colonies to protect illicit trade came to represent a new and potent force: nothing less than an independent American legal system. Tensions between Crown and colonies presage, and may predestine, the ultimate dissolution of their relationship in 1776.
Exhaustively researched and rich with anecdotes about the pirates and their pursuers, The Politics of Piracy will be a fascinating read for scholars, enthusiasts, and anyone with an interest in the wild and tumultuous world of the Atlantic buccaneers.
The porch, whether simple or grand, evokes feelings of welcome, comfort, and nostalgia in all of us, yet there has been little published on the history of this omnipresent architectural feature. This book examines how porches in their many forms have evolved in the United States and Canada through innovations, adaptations, and revivals. Covering formal porches and verandas, as well as the many informal vernacular types, this book proffers insights into broad cultural customs and patterns, as well as regional preferences and usage.
Lavishly illustrated with contemporary and historic photographs, Porches of North America provides a chronological and typological framework for identifying historic porches. All those who love to while away afternoons on a favorite porch will find this architectural history delightful as well as informative.
Sharing Best Practices and Finding Common Ground
Over the past twenty years, there has been a fundamental shift in the institutional organization of historic preservation education. Historic preservation is the most recent arrival in the collection of built environment disciplines and therefore lacks the pedagogical depth and breadth found in allied endeavors such as architecture and planning. As the first degree programs in preservation only date to the 1970s and the first doctoral programs to the 1990s, new faculty are confronted with pedagogical challenges that are unique to this relatively nascent field. Based on a conference that included educators from around the world, Barry L. Stiefel and Jeremy C. Wells now present a collection that seeks to address fundamental issues of preservation pedagogy, outcome-based education and assessment, and global issues of authenticity and significance in historic preservation. The editors argue that the subject of the analysis has shifted from, “What is the best way to fix a historic building?” to, “What are the best ways for teaching people how to preserve historic properties (and why) according to the various standards that have been established?”
This important reconsideration of the state of the field in historic preservation education will appeal to a broad audience across numerous disciplines.