Philanthropy, Venture Funding and F***ing S**t Up

(I have no time to make this a real essay. It’s notes in the shape of an essay. Hope it offers something anyway.)

Some of you may remember that I collaborated with a group of people on a project in Seattle at the end of the 1990s called the Fuse Foundation, which aimed to make […]

By |December 13th, 2011|Innovation|Comments Off

Putting the Future Back in the Room

This is an essay I wrote in Spring 2010. It seems appropriate to repost it, given that the need to bring future concerns into present politics has never seemed more urgent.

The future that my parents’ generation warned us about forty years ago looks an awful lot like our present. The ice caps are melting, […]

By |December 11th, 2011|Uncategorized|Comments Off


Wow. There’s probably no better writing reward than getting, out of the blue, a thoughtful, insightful note of appreciation for your work from someone you really like and respect. Having someone you think is brilliant really see what you’re after, note how it’s working, value it… an incredible complement.

I aspire to be the sender […]

By |November 26th, 2011|Observed|Comments Off


I’m headed for Australia! (and I’d love your help.)

I’ll be there Dec 8th – Feb 4th. Five weeks in Melbourne, one in Sydney, remainder traveling up the coast. My goals are to get in great shape, have as much fun as I can, and outline my next book (assuming I get Carbon Zero out […]

By |November 25th, 2011|Conferences and Talks|Comments Off

Our Future Is A Thing of the Past

Here’s the video from my TEDxOxbridge talk this last summer, about How Our Future is a Thing of the Past…

I think it’s critical that we understand that The Future, as we’re used to thinking of it and discussing it, is itself a cultural artifact, not an empirical description of what may happen tomorrow. It […]

By |November 18th, 2011|Conferences and Talks, History, Planetary Thinking|Comments Off

“It seems that only now we realize…”

I’m somewhat obsessed these days by the W.S. Merwin poem The Iceberg, especially these lines, which I take to be in part a meditation on the existential crisis humanity is struggling with as we come to understand a incomprehensibly large and ancient universe in which we are, as far as we know, alone:
“…It seems […]

By |November 18th, 2011|Planetary Thinking|Comments Off

A little update on Carbon Zero: Illustrations, Manuscript, Talks

I just wanted to give a quick progress report on Carbon Zero, for those who are following the project. Continuing to work away here. Exciting progress.

The manuscript is coming together. Now for expert feedback and copy-editing and it’s ready!

OPEN has come up with the first round of iconic illustrations. We’re still working on some […]

By |October 26th, 2011|Carbon neutrality, Carbon Zero|Comments Off


I jokingly floated the idea of an urban pogo-stick sharing network last week. Weirdly, everyone seems to love it. I have no interest in trying to build one, but I chuckle every time I think of commuters pogo-ing down the sidewalk.

By |October 11th, 2011|Walksheds|Comments Off

Legacy Day

This is a little rant. Fair warning.

Columbus Day yesterday got me thinking again about the parallels between the Conquest of the Americas and planetary crisis we now face. There are many people who history has given a bad rap. Christopher Columbus is not one of them. He was a terrible person, and he set […]

By |October 11th, 2011|History|Comments Off

How Not to Redesign a Suburb

Every few weeks, someone sends me an article, a study, a design competition for redesigning or retrofitting suburbia. The idea that we’ll need to do something about the suburbs has grown hot.

Unfortunately, most American ideas for suburban redesign seem almost universally to fail to understand systemic shifts involved. I suspect this failure is related […]

By |September 15th, 2011|Uncategorized|Comments Off