Make a donation with PayPal, VISA, Mastercard, American Express, Discover cards - it's fast, free and secure!

Home Page

Nonprofit founded in 1988

About SEI

Culture Change Letter
via email
65 64 63 62
61 60 59 58 57 56 55 54 53 52 51 50 49 48 47 46 45 44 43 42 41 40 39 38 37 36 35 34 33 32 31 30 29 28 27 26 25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10  9  8  7  6  5  4  3  2 1  subscribe  index  feedback

Culture Change print magazine issues: 20  19  18  17  16  15  14  13  12  11  10  9  8  index

Pedal Power solutions to petroleum dependence and polluting vehicles: Arcata Library Bikes, Pedal Power Produce, and more!

CAOE - Committee Against Oil Exploration - stop offshore oil drilling to protect sensitive habitats and cut petroleum dependence.

Culture Change through music! The Depavers eco-rock!

Take our Pledge for Climate Protection and learn about the Global Warming Crisis Council.

SEI hometown action!
Arcata city council's proclamation against war on Iraq and Kyoto Protocol proclamation.

Overpopulation has become a reality.  Overpopulation Resources and News Tidbits

Sail Transport Network

Fact Sheets
Press Releases

Long Distance

Culture Change

Freeing the world beneath the pavement
The reality beyond the trappings of technological society

by Jan Lundberg  

Amidst constant stimuli from the mechanical and artificial environment, we must do our utmost to keep in mind the falsity and impermanence of modern living.  What a waste to live our entire lives according to superficial concepts and the greedy agendas of dominators.

As unlikely and as difficult as it sounds, the goal of such realization is to topple the ruling order, at least inside one’s mind.  In our daily lives there is much to ponder and reject, if not escape from.  Alternative structures can be accessed and created within the existing system as part of the prelude to the historic socioeconomic transition just ahead. 

The profligate energy consumption of U.S. society and the rest of the industrialized world will plummet, taking with it the trappings of modern civilization.  World oil extraction is about to taper off, throwing a probably fatal monkeywrench into the growth economy.  

What will remain upon collapse, besides social upheaval while people try to provide basic needs — suddenly without petroleum — may not approach the comfort of traditional “harsh” living of a few generations ago that was close to the land.  In other words, we should be lucky to end up agrarian, although the ravaged land, air & water and species-loss will be unforgiving.

If enough people construct a way of living free of coercive employment, so as to be independent from oppressive institutions, the result will be tremendous: if not a breaking of the unnecessary government/corporate yoke, then a working model to build upon once the dominant order collapses of its own weight.

Regardless of one’s passionate rejection of the narrow rationale for war, systematic pollution, and virtual slavery, the changing world will serve up a new culture of sustainability — that is, if we can collectively overcome the destruction wrought by the growth economy.  There is nothing wrong with economics if it nurtures and is based on local self-reliance.  But that’s not what the global economy is about: it’s an extension of the cancer of expansion that Western Civilization has been. 

This is a time of failing to recognize the obvious, so most of us wallow in confusion.  When the sheer fact of overpopulation in these United States is denied, and when destructive technology is allowed to multiply as if such a state of affairs is natural and inevitable, the mental health of the individual and of society in general is to be questioned.  To deny the U.S. is overpopulated is to claim the Emperor is wearing clothes when he is naked.  However, it is politically incorrect and a non-funder (as in, “nonstarter”) to admit to domestic overpopulation.  But anyone can explore the source of our huge population’s sustenance, and see it comes from guzzling petroleum.  When it dries up, population will plummet as the economy is toppled and materialist society disintegrates. That appears to be when overpopulation will be admitted universally.

Political and personal response

For now, we are surrounded and buried by material and societal stuff that masquerades as reality.  It is soooo weird to trudge through the artificial world day after day and pretend it’s normal and all right.  Poets and artists relate to such feelings, and they express themselves accordingly.  What does it all mean politically?  It’s what we make of it.

The way we view the world is the key to understanding not just our history, our crises and our fate, but what our power is this moment.  “A revolution is possible if we see ourselves equal to and not above 'things' around us: air, water, soil, plants, animals, light,” says Tony. Pereira, a Los Angeles-based sustainable architecture and engineering activist, and UCLA masters candidate.  He says, "'Things' around us, plants and animals, fought and evolved under the same 'conditions' as humans now do, and for a much longer time period. They, we all face sudden inexorable death. Who's to say that the smallest bacteria or virus has any less powers than we do?"

A revolution of such deep magnitude would dwarf the petty political aims of those who want the pie redistributed, especially when it is “an arsenic pie” in the words of the Depaving Guru, a.k.a. Richard Register of Ecocity Builders. 

Some of us have the self-appointed job of examining and clarifying our common predicament and anticipating what’s next in our social evolution.  We speak up for the other species not taken into account when the better paid environmentalists imagine a future of cleaner cars, for example.  We join in the streets activists who feel the injustice of the kill-for-oil, global-warming foreign policy of the U.S.-led juggernaut of world trade.  It is vital, however, to begin the alternatives now so that models are in place when the peak in world oil extraction is suddenly felt, or a financial meltdown triggers collapse.  

This week, after the revelations of U.S. torture in Iraq, coupled with genocide against Iraqis such as in Fallujah, the future looks like collateral damage is going to hit U.S. society where it hurts, or even cripple it — whether or not retribution is called terrorism.

Renouncing petroleum gluttony today could begin to apologize for what the western industrialized nations have done to Iraq, Arabs and Muslims.  Such conciliatory and ecologically sound "foreign policy" from individuals and communities could go a long way toward peace and defusing the tension that the U.S. and U.K. have wrought upon the whole world.

Do what you can.  A song by Dana Lyons, "Willy Says," quotes a Lummi Indian elder who says "There's a world beneath the pavement."  Sing today of a future full of freedom, even if we might not be there to enjoy it.  


 May 2, 2004

See the website of Tony Pereira, ME, EIT 
Read Richard Register's How to Depave the World.  
Enjoy Dana Lyons and get his musical recordings.
Protest the U.S. occupation of Iraq and read background on war for oil, see the link to the new depleted uranium report. 

Global Warming Crisis Council and the Pledge for Climate Protection

Back to Home Page

Jan Lundberg's columns are protected by copyright; however, non-commercial use of the material is permitted as long as full attribution is given with a link to this website, and he is informed of the re-publishing:


Articles of interest:
Anti-globalization protest grows, with tangible results.  WTO protests page

Tax fossil-fuel energy easily
by Peter Salonius

UK leader calls War on Terror "bogus"

Argentina bleeds toward healing by Raul Riutor

The oil industry has plans for you: blow-back by Jan Lundberg

It's not a war for oil? by Adam Khan

How to create a pedestrian mall by Michelle Wallar

The Cuban bike revolution

How GM destroyed the U.S. rail system excerpts from the film "Taken for a Ride".

"Iraqi oil not enough for US: Last days of America?"

Depaving the world by Richard Register

Roadkill: Driving animals to their graves by Mark Matthew Braunstein

The Hydrogen fuel cell technofix: Spencer Abraham's hydrogen dream.

Ancient Forest Protection in Northern California. Forest defenders climb trees to save them.

Daniel Quinn's thoughts on this website.

A case study in unsustainable development is the ongoing crisis in Palestine and Israel.

Renewable and alternative energy information.

Conserving energy at home (Calif. Title 24)



Culture Change/Sustainable Energy Institute mailing address: P.O. Box 3387 , Santa Cruz , California 95063 USA
  Telephone 1-215-243-3144 (and fax)

Culture Change (Trademarked) is published by Sustainable Energy Institute (formerly Fossil Fuels Policy Action), a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) California non-stock corporation. Contributions are tax-deductible.