About the Blog

I'm directly involved with the built environment professionally, yet deliberately remove myself from it as often as possible, seeking wilderness or at least semi wild areas. I can't imagine life without being outdoors regularly. As a hunter and fisher, I'm outdoors primarily in the pursuit of wild game, but I have always loved backpacking and have done it since I was a kid. Backpacking trips make you very aware of things we take for granted in "settled" areas- level surfaces, mechanical conveyance, electricity, shelter, and readily available fresh food. The absence of these things concentrates the mind and is always instructive. So many of our problems today are the direct result of imbalances in basic resources, especially energy and water, and I enjoy contemplating them as the items without which civilization can't exist.

It’s possible to see the world through many different lenses simultaneously: political, ecological, environmental, technological, economic, spiritual, historical, and especially personal. I find it more useful to explore real interconnections rather than perceived divisions. All of our systems of social organization and our use of resources are intended to lead to the same thing: survival of our species in balance with the planet. That much may seem obvious, but some questions that don’t seem to get asked (or answered) very often are: How long is “sustainable?” What constitutes “balance”? What constitutes survival?

Assuming we can actually understand and learn from the past, I think that in order to understand success (sustainability) we have to understand failure (i.e. collapse). From what I can see we don’t necessarily have good explanations for either. We seem to be mired in apocalyptic narratives or techno-utopian fantasies, without much in between. This blog is about providing better and more real scenarios for sustainability.

Some of the things I want to explore include: reinventing futurism; whole system thinking and building; reviving belief in government- local, state, federal, and global; the democratization of communications and energy; the global political reaction to capitalism; exploring the primacy of design as a driver of innovation in technology, government, and communication; reinventing economic theory; complexity and collapse of societies; and transforming building practice. That’s just for starters, in case this looks a bit narrowly focused for you!

- Clifton Lemon


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