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John Davis is a practicing architect in Ojai, California. He has taught Environmental Humanities at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles and at Viridis Graduate Institute. He blogs on history and the environment at urbanwildland.org
(3 comments) SHARE Saturday, November 17, 2018 Geographies of Violence in Southern California
The carbon sequestered in over a quarter million acres of trees and shrubs and within the building materials of many thousands of structures has now been released to the atmosphere in these hellacious wildfires spread across California.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, August 16, 2019 The Isle of White
North Haven is powered by three gleaming (white) wind turbines, discreetly located on an adjacent island. They illustrate the uncanny ability of the rich to thrive in green, sustainable communities while the poor often remain in the polluted cities, suburbs and exurbs from whence wealth is extracted.
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, February 24, 2019 Wildlife Corridors not High-Speed Rail coming to California
The greatest threat to wildlife rangelands in California is the system of freeways that cross hatch its still substantial areas of wild habitat, isolate populations, and promote genetic fragmentation. As a top-predator, the mountain lion is key to the survival of Southern California as one of the most biologically rich natural landscapes in the world.
SHARE Thursday, October 10, 2019 The Green New Deal and Accursed Wealth
The United States will achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions, create new 'green' jobs, invest in infrastructure and secure clean air and water, promote climate and community resilience and ensure 'access to nature' and a sustainable environment within an economic ideology that presumes a supine natural world.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, February 7, 2020 Global Plastic
The first to be made, in 1907, was Bakelite, from coal tar, and was initially designed to replace shellac, sourced from Asian beetles, and used in electrical insulation. It was quickly developed as a key material in the burgeoning consumer goods market, used to encase radios, telephones and clocks, and made into housewares and jewelry.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, July 5, 2019 Joe Biden is a Collaborator
Biden remains typical of the great, antediluvian Congressional horde. His complicity in furthering the oligarchs' agenda is well known. He was complicit in the passage of the racist Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994; complicit in Obama's canny retention of private health insurers in the mix of the Affordable Care Act; and complicit in the ACA's denial of health services to 'illegals'.
SHARE Tuesday, May 28, 2019 Ecological Beings
Now the world, with the neurasthenic, metronomic gait of a zombie, continues to trudge towards the precipice over which its inhabitants, it seems, must plunge into a time of environmental feedback, where snow and ice melt produce permafrost methane release amplifying the processes that lead to a drowned and vastly diminished planet.
(4 comments) SHARE Thursday, January 2, 2020 Bad Planet
The climate action agendas proposed or enacted across the planet, including the Green New Deal, represent opportunities to replace, and potentially to expand energy use - and thus to expand the despoliation of ecosystems, human culture, communities and individual lives.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, March 3, 2020 Bernie and the Biotariat
He does not promote tinkering with the arcane rules of the senate such as overturning the filibuster rule because he believes in a day when his movement will deliver a democracy no longer shackled to institutions born out of the eighteenth century.
SHARE Monday, February 10, 2020 Three Old White Guys - Bernie, Biden and Bloomberg
America has been built on just enough democracy to ensure that the masses retain their Horatio Alger dreams - believing the myth of equal opportunity and the chance to strike it rich - but never enough to challenge the power of the wealthy.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, March 16, 2020 Civilization Ruffled by a Perfect Epidemiological Storm
Crises such as 9/11, Katrina, continent-spanning wildfires, and now Covid-19, that have so recently piled up across the globe, are not black swan events appearing out of nowhere - they are manifestations of this inherent fragility.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, April 9, 2020 Freedom Virus
Neoliberal ideology has now been laid bare by the Corona epidemic. It is impotent in a public health crisis because it promotes the financial starvation of government through lower taxes while simultaneously expanding military budgets both of which are inimical to the public good.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, January 21, 2019 A National Emergency
The pretense that humans are in charge has finally to be abandoned. We await our fate possessing only crude materials of resistance and, thus far, almost no political will to emplace them.
SHARE Tuesday, June 18, 2019 Global Warming as a Tactical Weapon
The environmental, social, financial and international violence perpetrated by the Trump government are tactical instruments of ideological coercion. Might not the far greater violence of global warming, or more explicitly of extinction, be used as a countervailing instrument of radical change?
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, September 13, 2019 The Four Storms of the Apocalypse - Katrina, Sandy, Maria and Dorian
We now know that a massive increase in the burning of fossil fuels linked to the industrial revolution in Britain was initiated some time in the 1840's and has since resulted in epic population growth and growing prosperity together with extinction levels of carbon in the planet's atmosphere and oceans.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, November 1, 2018 The Last History of the United States
The words "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal"", from America's Declaration of Independence, stand as one of the finest historical examples of what Hitler, and later Goebbels, called the big lie. Hitler wrote in Mein Kamf, 1925, "that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata ...
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, August 5, 2020 The COVID-Interregnum
As the statues have tumbled across the land there is an understanding that we will emerge from what might be called the COVID-Interregnum as a much-altered nation - our histories reimagined, and our values reconfigured.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, May 8, 2020 Visions of a Post-Covid-19 World
The extraordinary circumstances of a global stand-down as SARS-CoV-2 careens across the planet has given us, amidst the appalling realities of viral sickness and death, a momentary vision of a saner, healthier, and a cooler world.
(1 comments) SHARE Monday, May 17, 2021 In the Weeds of History
After four years or more of bloviation focused on Trump, American democracy and the deep wounds of this country's colonial past it is time to return to the enchantments of the Urban Wildland except that there is no escape even in the hinterlands from the psychic toll of conquest.
SHARE Sunday, July 18, 2021 Bear Canyon
America's Great Basin which occupies most of Nevada, southern eastern Oregon and about half of Utah functions hydrologically like the Tibetan Plateau.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, January 1, 2019 Burn Lands
Even in the burn lands, the beauty of the hills, valleys, canyons and distant mountains remains. Bathed in the soft glow of early morning and evening light, it is transfixing. Scoured by cold north-easterly Santa Ana winds (in other seasons, the fire wind) the atmosphere is preternaturally clear, the landscape stunningly chromatic.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, February 6, 2019 Are we Moderns or Terrestrials?
We are now witnessing the end-game of the Modernity project. Founded on rationality, emancipation and progress and devoted, ostensibly, to the welfare of all, it has been subverted by, "a dizzying extension of inequalities". This process of triage has created the so-called 'left-behinds' necessary as sacrificial populations that, ironically, support the elite practitioners of this economic and cultural discrimination.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, July 15, 2020 This is No Way to Live
The change I want to see has already begun and is already manifest in a fearless resolve that quite simply - This is No Way to Live!
(2 comments) SHARE Monday, December 17, 2018 What World do we Seek?
We are being asked to believe in the possibility of continued fossil-fueled economic growth while that phenomenon's miasmic specter of global warming threatens to destroy the productivity and habitability of vast swathes of the planet. And, we are being asked, now, to believe that the server farms that support Facebook run on fairy dust.
SHARE Thursday, June 4, 2020 Our History is Our Future
WE citizens are remade as human capital: mini entrepreneurs whose only civic duty is towards pumping up the GDP. This is what our government demands of us and we would be foolish to expect more from it than further destruction of the public realm and further trivialization of the democratic process.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, August 28, 2020 No Fire Without Smoke
According to a report issued by Stanford University earlier this year climate change has resulted in the doubling of the number of extreme-risk days for California wildfires while average temperatures have risen almost two degrees Fahrenheit and rainfall has dropped by a full 30%.
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, June 6, 2021 Sisar
Oak, walnut, bay, and sycamore shade the trail and as you begin to rise out of the canyon, Cottonwoods reach for the sky beyond the riparian canopy.
SHARE Friday, September 18, 2020 "Law and Order" vs. "Empathy and Healing"
All hope of racial justice, income equality, climate action and the elimination of gender bias awaits the next revolution, not the result of this November's federal election.
(1 comments) SHARE Wednesday, September 15, 2021 Fading to Sepia
The country's humiliating retreat from Afghanistan is an indicator that this formerly imperious political and military power is now woefully inadequate to the task of combatting the exigencies of terrorism, religious fundamentalism, tribal solidarity, asymmetrical warfare.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, December 18, 2020 What Shall We Call It?
There was no coup. American democracy worked as designed: it took the progressive energies unleashed in opposition to the Trump administration and entirely neutered them with the orderly election of the avuncular Joseph Biden, protector of the Empire, the military industrial complex, banking and finance..