Rebecca Solnit

Rebecca Solnit is the author of A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster and co-author with her brother David of The Battle of the Story of the Battle of Seattle, a short anthology looking at how that watershed event has been misrepresented and reproducing some of the original documents.

Climate & Energy

What to do when you’re running out of time on climate change

Time to start rocking the climate-change boat. Before time runs out.

Living

Hope: the care and feeding of

Everywhere, along with nightmares and despair, are victories and emerging possibilities.

The earthquake kit: How to unpack for a disaster and survive the unexpected

What’s in your earthquake survival kit? And what’s not?Photo: Global XThis essay was originally published on TomDispatch and is republished here with Tom’s kind permission. The first American responses to the triple calamity in Japan were deeply empathetic and then, as news of the Fukushima nuclear complex’s leaking radiation spread, a lot of people began to freak out about their own safety, and pretty soon you couldn’t find potassium iodide pills anywhere in San Francisco. You couldn’t even — so a friend tells me — find them in Brooklyn.  The catastrophes were in Japan and remain that country’s tragedy, so …

Pick your poison

What doesn’t kill you makes you gourmet

Editor’s note: The following essay and map are excerpted from Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas and are republished with permission by UC Press as part of Grist’s California agriculture series, an exploration of the people, farms, and issues shaping the state. Click for a larger version. The Bay Area is a tale of two valleys, places that call up very different associations. Napa Valley is the opposite of Silicon Valley, or likes to think so. Napa Valley is how the region is marketed, as upscale, arcadian, sensual, and leisurely; Silicon Valley is its other face, hectic, disembodied, corporate, and …

Iceberg Economies and Shadow Selves

Further adventures in the territories of hope

After the Macondo well exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, it was easy enough (on your choice of screen) to see a flaming oil platform, the very sea itself set afire with huge plumes of black smoke rising, and the dark smear of what would become five million barrels of oil beginning to soak birds and beaches. Infinitely harder to see and less dramatic was the vast counterforce soon at work: the mobilizing of tens of thousands of volunteers.

Jurassic Ballot

When corporations ruled the Earth

This country is being run for the benefit of alien life forms. They've invaded; they've conquered; and a lot of people do their bidding.

350 Degrees of Inseparability

The good news about the very bad news (about climate change)

Cross-posted from TomDispatch. These days, I see how optimistic and positive disaster and apocalypse movies were. Remember how, when those giant asteroids or alien space ships headed directly for Earth, everyone rallied and acted as one while our leaders led? We’re in a movie like that now, except that there’s not a lot of rallying or much leading above the grassroots level. The movie is called “Climate Change,” and you can tell its plot in a number of ways. In one, the alien monsters taking over the planet are called corporations, while the leaders who should be protecting us from their …

Judgment Days in Copenhagen

Terminator 2009

Cross-posted from TomDispatch. It’s clear now that, from her immoveable titanium bangs to her chaotic approximation of human speech, Sarah Palin is a Terminator cyborg sent from the future to destroy something — but what? It could be the Republican Party she’ll ravage by herding the fundamentalists and extremists into a place where sane fiscal conservatives and swing voters can’t follow. Or maybe she was sent to destroy civilization at this crucial moment by preaching the gospel of climate-change denial, abetted by tools like the Washington Post, which ran a factually outrageous editorial by her on the subject earlier this …

Remembering People Power in Seattle in 1999 and Berlin in 1989

Learning how to count to 350

Cross-posted from TomDispatch. Next month, at the climate change summit in Copenhagen, the wealthy nations that produce most of the excess carbon in our atmosphere will almost certainly fail to embrace measures adequate to ward off the devastation of our planet by heat and chaotic weather. Their leaders will probably promise us teaspoons with which to put out the firestorm and insist that springing for fire hoses would be far too onerous a burden for business to bear. They have already backed off from any binding deals at this global summit.  There will be a lot of wrangling about who …

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