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Derek Caelin

Joined 1 year, 3 months ago

Seeking a Solarpunk Future

Climate Feminist | Biodiversity | Open Source Software | Civic Tech | Games | Justice | Regenerative Ag | Green Energy | He/Him/His.

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Derek Caelin's books

Currently Reading (View all 7)

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2023 Reading Goal

5% complete! Derek Caelin has read 3 of 52 books.

To Be Taught, If Fortunate (Hardcover, 2019, Hodder & Stoughton) 4 stars

In the future, instead of terraforming planets to sustain human life, explorers of the galaxy …

Again, I'm as biased as can be, but I believe somaforming is the most ethical option when it comes to setting foot off Earth. I'm an observer, not a conqueror. I have no interest in changing other worlds to suit me. I choose the lighter touch: changing myself to suit them.

To Be Taught, If Fortunate by  (Page 14)

It seems inevitable that we will land on other worlds one day. I hope that we will be humble when we do.

After Geoengineering (Paperback, Verso) 4 stars

The window for action on climate change is closing rapidly. We are hurtling ever faster …

There's a lot of good explanations for methods to sequester and remove carbon here. Also some descriptions of "geoengineering", which I hadn't heard of previously. It reminds me of how India responds to the heat waves in the beginning of "Ministry For the Future" by increasing the reflectiveness of the atmosphere; it doesn't solve the problem, but it gains time for the solutions to take effect.

Buddhist Economics (Hardcover, 2017, Bloomsbury Press) 5 stars

"Traditional economics measures the ways in which we spend our income, but doesn't attribute worth …

Economics and Buddhism made tangible together

5 stars

I've recently tried to correct two mistakes I made in college. The first was in assuming that economics was a) esoteric and b) only for "money people" - business school types, in other words. The second was in failing to pay significant attention in a class I took on Buddhism (my teacher once called me out on the fact that my copy of our class' sole book had clearly never been opened). Clair Brown's "Buddhist Economics" approaches both of these reputedly ineffable subjects with simple, clear, and powerful language.

Simply put: the tenants of Buddhism - the acknowledgement that we are interdependent beings, that much of our suffering is derived from our desire to gain more wealth, more possessions, more status, more experiences - are shown to be relevent when making decisions at a personal and societal level to promote happy, full lives.

Meanwhile, the book stresses that economics is …

Buddhist Economics (Hardcover, 2017, Bloomsbury Press) 5 stars

"Traditional economics measures the ways in which we spend our income, but doesn't attribute worth …

We are surrounded by a materialistic culture that pushes us to buy this, buy that. Money demands and social roles create endless claims on our time that can never be fully satisfied. We feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and inadequate to the demands of life much of the time.

Buddhist economics says:

Stop. Sit quietly and appreciate the wonders of the moment. Breathe, and think about all the good parts of your life-the outing you took with family or friends last weekend, the good food you ate today, the lovely tree outside the window, the sick friend I you helped, the charity you support. Be grateful for the people who enrich your life, and for the earth that supports you. Let go of your ego, which defines reality by your mental projections and rules daily life by mental habits. Listen to your Buddha nature of love and compassion..

Sitting quietly and savoring the moment is an important way to begin practicing a mindful and meaningful life.

Buddhist economics by  (Page 163)

Buddhist Economics (Hardcover, 2017, Bloomsbury Press) 5 stars

"Traditional economics measures the ways in which we spend our income, but doesn't attribute worth …

Here's a cheat sheet on how to calculate Buddhist measures of economic performance:

  • Increasing consumption of basic goods adds to economic performance, but more consumption of status goods does not.

  • Involuntary unemployment subtracts from economic performance, and increased time for nonmarket activities that is, unpaid activities outside the marketplace-adds to it.

  • Environmental degradation subtracts from economic performance, and consuming clean energy adds to it.

  • Declines in health have a negative effect, while improvements in education have a positive one.

  • Improving the opportunities available to each person adds to the economy; crime, violence, and natural disasters subtract from the economy.

  • Mindful use of time for work, family, and community increases economic performance, and overwork or harmful activities decrease growth.

  • Overall, growth is measured in terms of the mindful use of resources, which includes restoring and nurturing the sources of those goods, while harmful and wasteful consumption decreases growth.

Buddhist economics by  (Page 108)

I hear that economists like to argue about what indicators matter. Pure "growth" based indicators aren't enough (or even appropriate) to measure how well an economy is performing. These seem valuable.

Buddhist Economics (Hardcover, 2017, Bloomsbury Press) 5 stars

"Traditional economics measures the ways in which we spend our income, but doesn't attribute worth …

Countries Choose their Inequality

Countries vary in how much inequality they tolerate among their citizens, and a country's inequality reflects its national values and culture. Economist Joseph Stiglitz, an expert on inequality, has demonstrated that a country's inequality is not an inherent outcome of capitalism but a choice that the country has made through its national laws and institutions. Some democratic societies, including Sweden, Finland, and Norway, have made child welfare and shared prosperity top priorities, and these countries have achieved widespread income equality, with a high standard of living for all. Other countries have taken an entirely different approach. Stiglitz provides a list of national regulations that have increased inequality in many nations: the proliferation of world trade agreements, the reduction of taxes on income and inheritances, the weakening of labor unions, the meteoric rise of rich financiers following the deregulation of the finance industry, and the increased market power of companies as they consolidate.

Buddhist economics by  (Page 88)

We assume that things must be as they are, but the truth is we get to choose what happens.

Multispecies Cities (Paperback, 2021, World Weaver Press) 4 stars

Cities are alive, shared by humans and animals, insects and plants, landforms and machines. What …

While organised politics or the “moral adventure” of an individual makes for engaging narratives, decentralised action and cooperation do not always lend themselves to familiar modes of storytelling. Also the violence that we inflict on the living and non-living by treating them as cogs in the wheels of progress, be it through capitalist production or a centrally commanded system, happens over extended time periods and the processes through which the more-than-human world responds, revealing our connections with it, can be even slower. Stories which try to highlight these connections or engage with the slowness of the response on a planetary scale have to employ special narrative strategies to hold the reader’s attention. One way to approach the issue of slowness and lengthy time periods is by plotting through narrative leaps across tipping points or catastrophes like the coronavirus pandemic. These are the points of rupture, where an equilibrium is lost and the natural world starts to transform quickly and its impact speeds up the story.

Multispecies Cities by , ,

It's interesting to try and find a counterpoint to this theory that decentralized action and cooperation are unfamiliar forms of storytelling. The examples that first come to mind are superhero movies, but most of the collaboration there is in doing violence (occasionally the scientists will invent something to move the plot forward). Gradual collaboration over time for change... Maybe Kim Stanley Robinson's "Mars" trilogy?