Skip to content
Grist home
All donations TRIPLED

Articles by Sharon Astyk

All Articles

  • Without coal, the most catastrophic climate scenarios may not happen

    NASA’s latest analysis of the intersection of peak oil and climate change argues that oil and natural gas alone probably won’t get us to 450ppm. If we can constrain our use of coal fairly quickly, we probably can avoid the worst outcomes — unless of course, the impact of reduced global dimming or methane from […]

  • Agriculture and energy solutions to avoid the fate of North Korea

    John Feffer has a good article over at Asia Times Online.

    It points out the deep danger we're in -- how teetery both the world and America's food and energy systems are. It is well worth a read, particularly because of its clear articulation of the bind we're in -- the strategies we've used in the past to get out of disaster will only accelerate collapse in the long-term.. The tools we're using to get more food out of the ground take food from the future.

  • Target your peak oil message to your audience


    Photo: Mark Sullivan/
    Photo: Eric Neitzel/WireImage.

    Peak oil is all over the place. The cover of the Wall Street Journal, CNN, you name it. The peak has tipped into the consciousness of the world. And those of us who were aware before are going to be fielding some questions. So it pays to have a response ready for the latecomers.


    It has occurred to me that there must be a simple way of explaining peak oil to everyone -- but most solutions have concentrated on creating a single simple method of explaining peak oil, when what is needed is a highly specialized approach, designed to help people grasp the issue in the most basic terms imaginable. Being a helpful sort, I have undertaken to provide those explanations. Thus, all you need to do is evaluate the person you are explaining things too, and from there, insert the proper explanation, using my handy list.

    If the person is a lot like Homer Simpson:

    The way to explain it is: "Beer comes from oil. You use oil to run tractor to grow barley. You use oil to run fermenting equipment. You use oil to ship beer to liquor store. You use gas, made from oil, to drive drunk to the store to get beer. No oil means no more beer -- ever."

  • Coming to terms with the reality of a world of refugees

    There's definitely a survivalist streak building in the environmental movement. Mainstream newspapers are starting to run stories about survivalism.

    There are quite a few people who hear that the energy peak or climate change is coming and believe that building up their stocks of ammo and heading for the hills is the way to go. I recognize, even if I do not share, that impulse: It is the impulse to protect your own, the panic you feel when you realize that your society, which on some level is supposed to protect you, hasn't planned ahead for this one. And so there's a tendency of people to get into discussions about what happens when refugees or hungry folk come around, and a lot of times the answer is that you have to protect your own again. Protect your own means "shoot people," in many cases.