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The Great Simplification with Nate Hagens

English, Sciences, 40 seasons, 204 episodes, 2 days, 4 hours, 58 minutes
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The Great Simplification with Nate Hagens explores money, energy, economy, and the environment with world experts and leaders to understand how everything fits together, and where we go from here.
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Sound Thinking: Using Music, Resonance, and Harmonics for Human Wellbeing with Alexandre Tannous

(Conversation recorded on May 1st, 2024)   Show Summary: Music has been an integral part of the human experience for thousands of years, and continues to embody a unique aspect of culture across the world today - yet most people hold only a preliminary understanding of the full range of benefits that sound, resonance, and harmonics can provide. Today, Nate is joined by ethnomusicologist Alexandre Tannous for a deep dive on the evolution of the human relationship with sound and how music could be used as a tool to facilitate personal resilience and healing. How can resonance quiet our reptilian fight-or-flight system and positively impact personal and group consciousness? When grounded in ceremony, how does music enhance spirituality and well-being for communities? What could a world look like in which every human has the access and energy to focus on healing themselves through the powerful tools of sound and meditation?   About Alexandre Tannous: Alexandre Tannous is an ethnomusicologist, sound therapist and sound researcher who holds four degrees in music, and years of experience performing, composing, conducting, teaching and lecturing on music. He has been investigating the therapeutic and esoteric properties of sound from three different perspectives - Western scientific, Eastern philosophical, and shamanic societal beliefs - to gain a deeper understanding of how, and to what extent, sound has been used to affect human consciousness.  The material he transmits about sound is based on multidisciplinary research conducted over 24 years. Inspired by his findings, he designed a protocol of an integrated experience he calls “Sound Meditation”, raising an awareness to how a specifically designed sound can have the ability to help us to disconnect from habitual patterns while judiciously listening to the overtone-rich instruments he plays. He uses a method that empowers the participants to engage actively with tools that enhance their experience.   Show Notes and More Watch this video episode on Youtube
6/19/20242 hours, 40 minutes, 54 seconds
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Material World: The Key Resources Underpinning Modern Economies with Ed Conway

(Conversation recorded on May 7th, 2024)   Show Summary:  In contrast to ‘The Great Simplification’, some might call the events of the last few hundred years a ‘Great Complexification’ in terms of relationships, governance, supply chains, and many other human activities. Today’s conversation with economics journalist Ed Conway focuses on the six essential resources that underpin our modern economies –  sand, salt, iron, copper, oil, and lithium - and dives into the (often unseen) environmental and human costs of extracting them, as well as the surprisingly fragile global supply chains they fuel. In order to understand what possibilities – and dangers – may await us in the future, we need to understand the realities and constraints of the present, as well as the fail points of the past. What does it take to mine, refine, and transform the materials that are foundational to the world around us - which many of us now take for granted? How can we ensure the stability of global supply chains, and could we predict potential disruptions and chokepoints before they arise? If we understood the intricate web of complexity, energy, and resources that go into everything we consume, would it change our expectations for how much we need in order to live a good and fulfilling life? About Ed Conway: Ed Conway is a writer and broadcaster. He is the Economics and Data Editor of Sky News and has written for many newspapers and publications, including the New York Times, the Times of London and the New Statesman. His latest book, Material World, was an Economist and Sunday Times Book of the Year and was shortlisted for the 2023 FT Business Book of the Year Award. He has also written two other critically acclaimed and bestselling books and has won numerous awards for his journalism. He was educated at Oxford and Harvard. He lives in London.   For Show Notes and More visit:  https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/127-ed-conway To watch this video episode on Youtube → https://youtu.be/4C2-tWcFKfQ  
6/12/20241 hour, 44 minutes, 56 seconds
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The Next Generation's Dilemma: Confronting the Metacrisis | Reality Roundtable #9

(Conversation recorded on May 8th, 2024)   Show Summary:  As the human predicament continues to accelerate, the conversations regarding the future are still dominated by older generations - yet it is their younger successors who will face the brunt of these issues throughout their lives. Today’s Reality Roundtable with Priscilla Trịhn, James Branagan, and Natasha Linhart, focuses on Generation Z’s perspective of the metacrisis, how learning the reality of the human predicament has affected their worldview, and what they see as viable future paths for themselves and the world. How might we approach intergenerational relationships to encourage the transfer of knowledge in both directions, without blame or resentment? What are the unique challenges that young people face when addressing  the layers of complexity and risk in the world, and thinking about how to respond? Could fostering community, empathy, and personal responsibility act as a bridge across generational divides, steering us towards a more unified and compassionate future?   About Priscilla Trịhn: Priscilla Trịnh currently serves as Director of Communications at the Post Growth Institute and co-coordinator of the Minnesota Youth Institute. She is also the creator of the #postgrowth jobs board and a founding member of The Overstory Alliance. Additionally, Priscilla is an editor at the Blue Marble Review, and contributor to the Minnesota Women’s Press. Priscilla holds a B.S. in Sustainable Systems Management and resides on Očhéthi Šakówiŋ lands (Minnesota, USA) and when not working, can be found near a body of water or in the kitchen. About James Branagan: James Branagan is a content creator and video editor, posting content on slow living and philosophy from his channel, The New Naturalist. At a young age, he became disillusioned with many different components of society, becoming fascinated by the prospect of humans figuring out how to live in an ecologically compatible way. He's committed to the task of addressing some of the many facets of Our Human Predicament, particularly education and food production systems.  About Natasha Linhart: Natasha Linhart graduated from the University of Amsterdam in 2023 with a degree in BSc in Politics, Psychology, Law and Economics with a focus in Economics and Business, and electives in Degrowth and Critical Theory. For the last year, she has been working as a Research Associate with the Institute for the Study of Energy and Our Future. Natasha is also a passionate educator, founding her own tutoring company with a holistic approach to high-school education (IBCompanions).   For Show Notes and More visit:  https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/reality-roundtable-9   To watch this video episode on Youtube → https://youtu.be/SnpsxGQ0aZY
6/9/20241 hour, 10 minutes, 29 seconds
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Daniel Schmachtenberger: "Moving from Naive to Authentic Progress: A Vision for Betterment”

(Conversation recorded on May 5th, 2024)   Show Summary:  In this episode, Nate welcomes back Daniel Schmachtenberger to unpack a new paper, which he co-authored, entitled Development in Progress, an analysis on the history of progress and the consequences of ‘advancement’.  Current mainstream narratives sell the story that progress is synonymous with betterment, and that the world becomes better for everyone as GDP and economies continue to grow. Yet, this is an incomplete portrayal that leaves out the dark sides of advancement. What are the implications when only the victors of history write the narratives of progress and define societal values? What are the value systems embedded in our institutions and policies, and how do they reinforce the need for ongoing growth at the expense of the natural world and human well-being? Finally, how do we change these dynamics to form a new, holistic definition of progress that accounts for the connectedness of our planet to the health of our minds, bodies, and communities? The full paper discussed in this episode will be available on The Consilience Project website in the near future.   About Daniel Schmachtenberger: Daniel Schmachtenberger is a founding member of The Consilience Project, aimed at improving public sensemaking and dialogue.  The throughline of his interests has to do with ways of improving the health and development of individuals and society, with a virtuous relationship between the two as a goal. Towards these ends, he’s had a particular interest in catastrophic and existential risk, with focuses on civilization collapse and institutional decay. His work also includes an analysis of progress narratives, collective action problems, and social organization theories. These themes are all connected through close study of the relevant domains in philosophy and science.   For Show Notes and More visit: thegreatsimplification.com/episode/daniel-schmachtenberger-7   To watch this video episode on Youtube → https://youtu.be/tmusbHBKW84 0:00 - Introduction 0:46 - Guest Introduction: Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:24 - Personal Catch-Up and Observations 3:55 - Paper on Development and Progress 6:19 - Definition and Importance of Progress 11:03 - Critique of Technological Advancement 14:05 - Historical Context of Progress Narratives 18:53 - Social Structures and Restraint 21:21 - Technological Efficiency and Wisdom 27:41 - Climate Change and Technological Solutions 30:32 - Historical Analysis of Conquerors 35:30 - Multipolar Traps and Progress 45:01 - Asymmetry and Power in Evolution 46:29 - Definitions of Progress 47:15 - Ecological and Economic Risks 52:54 - Case Studies of Externalities 56:14 - Corporate Personhood and Sociopathy 1:02:22 - Influence of Dominant Narratives 1:09:09 - Global Coordination and AI 1:11:51 - Self-Terminating Path of Winning 1:13:45 - Addressing Systemic Ecological Issues 1:20:17 - Human Wisdom and Restraint 1:23:27 - Jevons Paradox and Energy Efficiency 1:30:07 - Historical Analysis of Warfare 1:35:30 - Cancer and Industrial Toxins 1:39:03 - Influence of Dark Triad Traits 1:45:01 - Environmental Impact of Corporations 1:52:54 - Long-Term Ecological Solutions 2:00:27 - Role of Education in Progress 2:07:02 - Ethical Considerations in Technology 2:13:45 - Philosophical Foundations of Progress 2:20:17 - Addressing Social Inequality 2:23:27 - Integrating Traditional Knowledge 2:30:07 - Future Prospects and Challenges 2:35:30 - Personal Reflections and Closing Thoughts
6/5/20243 hours, 20 minutes, 37 seconds
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Nuclear Conflict: 7 Key Questions for Sustainable Futures | Frankly #63

(Recorded May 28, 2024) Description In this week’s Frankly, Nate offers an update on the current state of conflict between NATO and Russia and the increasing threat of escalation, followed by 7 high-level questions about how to think about war, the human predicament and our work for a more stable future. While these issues may seem too looming and overwhelming for our everyday lives, the society-ending (world-ending?) ramifications of them would trump every other issue if the worst were to happen. When thinking of how we define “war”, is it even possible to “win” within a complex, interconnected, global society given the level of our military technology? Is the way we view and participate in war a result of governance systems that no longer are fit for purpose? Taking a step further, could we change our cultural values - starting with individuals and communities around us - to reorient towards peace-centric structures that rely on cooperation and stability? YouTube Link here  Show Notes  
5/31/202417 minutes, 50 seconds
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Vanessa Andreotti: "Hospicing Modernity and Rehabilitating Humanity"

(Conversation recorded on March 25th, 2024) Show Summary:  In this episode, Nate is joined by educator and indigenous researcher Vanessa Andreotti to discuss what she calls “hospicing modernity” in order to move beyond the world we’ve come to know and the failed promises that “modernity” has made to our current culture. Whether you refer to it as the metacrisis, the polycrisis, or - in Nate’s terms - the human predicament, Vanessa brings a unique framing rooted in indigenous knowledge and relationality to aid in understanding, grieving, and building emotional resilience within this space. What does it mean to live and work within systems that are designed to fail, embedded in an aimless culture? How do we as individuals steady ourselves and create inner strength before engaging with such harrowing work? Importantly, what could education look like if founded in the principles of intergenerational knowledge transmission and emotional regulation, that are centered on our collective entanglement with the Earth?  About Vanessa Andreotti: Vanessa de Oliveira Andreotti is the Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Victoria. She is a former Canada Research Chair in Race, Inequalities and Global Change and a former David Lam Chair in Critical Multicultural Education. Vanessa has more than 100 published articles in areas related to global and climate education. She has also worked extensively across sectors internationally in projects related to global justice, global citizenship, Indigenous knowledge systems and the climate and nature emergency. Vanessa is the author of Hospicing Modernity: Facing humanity's wrongs and the implications for social activism, one of the founders of the Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures Arts/Research Collective and one of the designers of the course Facing Human Wrongs: Climate Complexity and Relational Accountability, available at UVic through Continuing Studies.   For show notes, including referenced articles and additional resources: https://thegreatsimplification.squarespace.com/episode/125-vanessa-andreotti   To watch this video episode on Youtube → https://youtu.be/h5kQ7_IZ8YI 00:00 - Intro 1:52 - The House of Modernity 16:34 - Hospicing the House of Modernity 22:56 - Theory of Change 31:49 - Affective Responses 43:55 - Healing Trauma 54:42 - Relational Intelligence 59:11 - Metabolical Literacy 1:04:59 - Dopamine Dependence 1:07:25 - Depth Education 1:09:27 - Reception with Young People 1:14:38 - How Do You Keep Going? 1:20:22 - Personal Advice 1:28:34 - What Would You Do with a Magic Wand?  
5/29/20241 hour, 34 minutes, 22 seconds
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Levke Caesar: "Oceanic Slowdown: Decoding the AMOC"

(Conversation recorded on April 23rd, 2024)   Show Summary:  On this episode, Nate is joined by climate physicist Levke Caesar for a comprehensive overview of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) and its connections to broader planetary systems. Amid a complex and heavily interconnected climate system, the AMOC is a powerful force for regulating temperature between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres along the Atlantic Ocean - yet it’s estimated to have slowed down by about 15% over the last few decades. What are the possible domino effects of this slowing oceanic powerhouse at a regional and global scale? How well do we understand what drives the AMOC, its cyclical patterns, and connections with other currents? More importantly, how does the AMOC interact with other biospheric mechanisms that have shaped our stable, life-supporting planetary home? About Levke Caesar: Levke Caesar is a climate physicist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, mainly known for her studies on the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) and its pivotal role in the climate system. Her research primarily focuses on the past, present, and future evolution of the AMOC and its intricate interactions within the North Atlantic region. Caesar's seminal work on the historical evolution of the AMOC has been featured in prestigious journals such as Nature and Nature Geoscience, garnering hundreds of citations. Since October 2023, she has assumed the role of scientific lead for the newly launched Planetary Boundary Science Initiative (PBScience) at PIK. Show Notes Watch this video episode on Youtube 00:00 - Intro 1:59 - Levke’s Background 4:29 - What is the AMOC? 10:45 - AMOC Risks 15:25 - Ocean Salinity 20:47 - Three Potential Scenarios 31:11 - Canfield Ocean 36:46 - Effects in Europe and Globally 45:31 - Public Awareness 49:02 - Measuring AMOC 52:40 - The Gulf Stream 56:24 - AMOC Feedbacks 1:00:18 - Scientific Consensus 1:04:53 - Levke’s Work 1:10:02 - Interventions and Suggestions 1:16:52 - How to Live a Normal Life 1:21:38 - Personal Advice 1:26:35 - What Would You Do with a Magic Wand? 1:27:36 - Closing Thoughts
5/22/20241 hour, 29 minutes, 38 seconds
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Special Request & Community Announcement

Greetings! As we look ahead to the future of our podcast and organization, we hope to continue bringing you the most relevant information, guests, and conversations surrounding The Great Simplification. To that end, we’re asking for your feedback. We have put together a brief survey that includes questions about what issues, content, and worldviews are most important to you.  Take the Survey → https://forms.gle/egpgLxVHpiB27Kv28 We’ve also set up a Discord community as a way to connect TGS viewers and listeners (who span across the globe). 🌏 Join the Discord → https://discord.gg/ZFfQqtqMJf 🌍 As the world converges on the systems synthesis of energy, ecology, behavior, etc., we hope to scale the reach and impact of our work to more humans, communities, and organizations. Thank you for helping us in this goal!
5/17/20243 minutes, 47 seconds
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Chris Keefer: "Empowering the Future: from Nuclear to Podcasting"

On this episode, Nate is joined by ER doctor, nuclear power advocate, and podcast host Chris Keefer for a broad ranging conversation including the basics of nuclear energy, how he engages with opposing opinions, and hypotheticals for a future medical system. Coming from a broad background, Chris understands what it means to have a human to human conversation and put together the pieces of our systemic puzzle in a clear and compelling way. What role could nuclear play for our future energy needs - and how are different countries making use of it today? How can we prioritize the health and safety of people under energetic and resource constraints? Most of all, how do we listen to others that we don’t agree with - regardless of the issue - to foster the diverse perspectives necessary to navigate the coming challenges of the human predicament?  About Chris Keefer: Chris Keefer MD, CCFP-EM is a Staff Emergency Physician at St Joseph's Health Centre and a Lecturer for the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto. He is also an avid advocate for expanding nuclear power as the President of Canadians for Nuclear Energy and Director of Doctors for Nuclear Energy. Additionally, he is the host of the Decouple Podcast exploring the most pressing questions in energy, climate, environment, politics, and philosophy. PDF Transcript Show Notes  00:00 - Chris Keefer works + info, Decouple Podcast, Canadians for Nuclear Energy 04:45 - Egalitarian hunter gatherer society, infant mortality 05:12 - Bow drill fire 07:10 - Yukon 07:30 - Humans and livestock outweigh wild mammals 50:1, not in the Yukon 08:10 - Dr. Paul Farmer 08:45 - Most humans use to work in agriculture, ~15% now involved in healthcare 10:56 - Ontario nuclear power, one of lowest electric grid in the world 12:01 - Justin Trudeau 12:24 - Simcoe Clinic, Canadian Center for Victims of Torture 14:01 - World population over time 14:36 - Paleodemography 14:59 - Degrowth 15:19 - Infant mortality in developed countries 15:55 - Tight link between energy, materials and GDP 20:54 - Duck and Cover Drills 21:05 - Environmental Movement and Nuclear 21:21 - Nagasaki bomb radiation injuries 21:49 - High dose radiation is deadly, low dose radiation less so 21:05 - Strontium-90 found in the teeth of babies 21:10 - Atmospheric weapons testing ban 22:33 - Fukushima meltdown, health impacts are negligible 23:09 - 20,000 people died from the Fukushima earthquake and following tsunami  23:47 - Fukushima contaminated water has been filtered out and is safe 24:24 - How radiation is measured 26:02 - Health effects from alcohol 26:16 - Drinking culture in the U.S. 27:22 - Nuclear energy density, land footprint 28:23 - Best nuclear applications and limitations 30:01 - Those who live in nuclear powered areas fare better 30:33 - Price of nuclear energy over the lifetime 30:45 - Nuclear power in France 31:18 - Canada energy history, center for nuclear research outside of the Manhattan Project 32:23 - 1000 people die prematurely every year due to coal 33:25 - Ontario population 33:38 - Candu Reactors 34:15 - Levelized cost of electricity, skewed with renewables 37:01 - Lazard Graphs 38:09 - Mark Jacobson 41:07 - Carbon emissions by power source 41:23 - Lifespan of nuclear plants 43:11 - Land use change impacts 43:31 - Nuclear and job creation 46:05 - US spending on military vs healthcare 48:49 - Meiji Restoration 49:33 - Vaclav Smil 50:42 - AI electricity demands 50:55 - AI risks 51:29 - Meredith Angwin  52:42 - Nuclear fuel 53:10 - 46% of uranium enrichment happens in Russia 54:15 - Known Uranium Reserves 54:25 - Haber Bosch  54:55 - Breeder Reactors 55:42 - Uranium in seawater 56:14 - Slow vs Fast Neutrons, fertile elements 57:04 - Sodium Fast Reactor 58:45 - China built a nuclear reactor in less than 4 years 1:00:05 - Defense in depth 1:01:11 - EMP, solar flare 1:01:30 - HBO’s Chernobyl, wildlife thriving in chernobyl area 1:03:13 - Death toll from radiation in Chernobyl 1:05:13 - Scientific literature and confirmation bias 1:08:12 - Chernobyl Children’s International 1:08:44 - Genome sequencing of highest exposures to radiation from chernobyl 1:09:09 - Germline mutations if the father smokes 1:10:02 - The Great Simplification animated video 1:10:32 - Peak Oil 1:12:10 - Complex 6-continent supply chains 1:12:30 - I, Pencil 1:15:19 - Nuclear Fusion 1:16:24 - Lawrence Livermore 1:17:45 - Tomas Murphy, Galactic Scale Energy 1:18:11 - Small Modular Reactor 1:19:26 - Cost saving in nuclear comes from scaling 1:19:34 - Wright’s Law, economies of multiples 1:23:33 - Biden administration policies and advances on nuclear 1:24:00 - Non-profit industrial complex 1:24:24 - The size of the US non-profit economy 1:24:44 - Sierra Club, anti-nuclear history 1:25:14 - Rocky Mountain Club 1:27:15 - Hans Rosling 1:27:32 - Somalia infant mortality rate 1:27:42 - Cuba 1990s economic shock and response 1:27:42 - Vandana Shiva + TGS Episode 1:30:27 - Cognitive Dissonance 1:31:45 - Jonathan Haidt + TGS Podcast, Righteous Mind 1:32:48 - Fatality and hospitalization statistics for COVID for first responders 1:33:22 - Truckers protest in Ottawa 1:34:15 - The problem with superchickens  1:36:54 - How social media tries to keep you online 1:37:12 - Paleopsychology 1:37:55 - Tristan Harris and Daniel Schmachtenberger on Joe Rogan 1:39:45 - John Kitzhaber + TGS Episode, Robert Lustig + TGS Episode 1:39:55 - US healthcare 20% of GDP, 50% of the world’s medical prescriptions are in the US  1:41:55 - Superutilizers 1:42:37 - Cuban medical system, spending, life expectancy, infant mortality 1:43:06 - Cuban export of pharmaceuticals 1:44:08 - Preventative medicine, chronic disease management 1:44:25 - Cuban doctor to person ratio, rest of the world 1:48:47 - Social determinants of health 1:49:20 - Cement floor reducing illness in Mexico 1:50:03 - Hygiene hypothesis 1:50:28 - Zoonotic disease and human/animal cohabitation 1:50:50 - Roundworm life cycle 1:52:38 - Acceptable miss rates 1:53:16 - Cancer screening effectiveness  1:53:58 - Drugs produced from nuclear plant byproducts 1:58:18 - Timothy O’Leary 2:02:28 - Superabundance 2:02:40 - Julian Simons and Paul Ehrlich bet 2:02:15 - Malthusian 2:06:08 - Pickering Plant Watch this video episode on YouTube
5/15/20242 hours, 10 minutes, 15 seconds
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The Indic Mind: An Approach to the Metacrisis | Reality Roundtable 8

On this Reality Roundtable, Nate is joined by Mohit Trivedi, Abhishek Thakore, and Kejal Savla, three NGO leaders in India active in driving social and cultural change using the perspective of the Indic Mind. As a subcontinent, the Indic people have faced crisis after crisis, yet have still held onto the optimism and compassion foundational to their culture. Submerged in this history and context, there is so much for the West to learn from those active in the metacrisis space in India. How has India’s unique history shaped the way they approach coming resource constraints, as they prepare to experience disproportionate global heating and extreme weather? Why is it important to hold paradoxes that look beyond the black and white, towards more complex and nuanced perspectives of the world? How could community be at the center of the responses to converging challenges we face - and what would it mean to practice relationality across all areas of one’s life? Mohit Trivedi is the co-found of 2069 Ecosystems. He is also a learning designer, facilitator and movement weaver, with a passion for spiritual and socio-political transformation. With a background in psychology, nursing, alternative education and social entrepreneurship, Mohit is aspiring to have harmony in his relationships with power, money, work and connections with others. He is actively stewarding a pan-Indian movement bringing together various individuals and organizations who are looking to practice collective leadership and decentralization, and nurture the next generation of spiritual and socio-political leaders. Abhishek Thakore is a serial social entrepreneur and a systems change expert with over two decades of experience. As the founder of The Blue Ribbon Movement, he has created an ecosystem of initiatives aimed at building youth leadership, civic engagement, and thriving cultures across the social sector. An MBA from IIM Bangalore and a Senior Fellow of Bhoomi College, he uses his diverse expertise for serving humanity's evolutionary purpose and responding to the metacrisis. Kejal Savle is the Co-founder and CEO of Wisdom Tree, an NGO whose aim is a world full of hope, where women's education and empowerment plays a central role, the lives of people in rural India are better, and all people live in dignity and security. Kejal is a weaver of social change for humans and systems. She works through integration of psychology, spirituality and management. For Show Notes and More visit: thegreatsimplification.com/episode/reality-roundtable-8 To watch this video episode on Youtube → https://youtu.be/XQbP4UJaiCw   
5/12/20241 hour, 14 minutes, 33 seconds
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Zak Stein: "Values, Education, AI and the Metacrisis”

On this episode, Nate is joined by philosopher and educator Zak Stein to discuss the current state of education and development for children during a time of converging crises and societal transformation. As the pace of life continues to accelerate - including world-shaking technological developments - our schools struggle to keep pace with changes in cultural expectations. What qualities are we encouraging in a system centered on competition and with no emphasis on creating agency or community participation? How is unfettered technology and artificial intelligence influencing youth - and what should parents, adults, and teachers be doing in response? What could the future of education look like if guided by true teacherly authority with the aim to create well-rounded, stable young humans with a sense of belonging and purpose in their communities?  About Zak Stein:  Dr. Zak Stein is a philosopher of education, as well as a Co-founder of the Center for World Philosophy and Religion. He is also the Co-founder of Civilization Research Institute, the Consilience Project, and Lectica, Inc. He is the author of dozens of published papers and two books, including Education in a Time Between Worlds.  PDF Transcript Show Notes 00:00 - Zak Stein works + Info, Civilization Research Institute, Education in a Time Between Worlds, Center for World Philosophy and Religion, First Principles and First Values  03:24 - No Child Left Behind 03:56 - Joseph Tainter + TGS episode 03:53 - Iatrogenic  05:30 - Daniel Schmachtenberger (TGS Episodes), Ken Wilbur, Marc Gafney 16:01 - Effects of screens and social media on teen mental health 16:54 - Marshall McLuhan 17:20 - The importance of adult boundary and limit setting for children 18:17 - How social media affects the brain 19:06 - The rise of ADHD in the 90s and effects on education - a timeline 19:58 - Hypercompetitive primary education systems 20:20 - High level of stress and cheating in primary education 22:28 - Scandinavian school systems 26:27 - Cold war effects on the education system 26:35 - Sputnik 27:25 - Tech elites don’t give their kids tech 28:35 - Elite overproduction, Peter Turchin 34:10 - Your Unique Self  37:28 - Iain McGilchrist + TGS Episode 38:02 - Moral Relativism 43:27 - Foundations of advertising  47:07 - Negatives of standardized testing 47:22 - Donald T. Cambell - Campbell’s law 48:57 - Nature vs Nurture Debate 49:20 - Cooperation and competition 52:10 - Effects of a competitive school environment 55:02 - The effects of an above-and-beyond teacher 55:42 - Legitimate teacherly authority 59:55 - Importance of the environment in the first 5 years of life 1:02:20 - John Dewey 1:10:31 - The best way to learn is to teach 1:11:40 - David Graeber, Bullshit Jobs 1:15:25 - How standardized testing increased high education access 1:16:08 - Civilian Conservation Corp, Lawrence A. Cremin 1:17:02 - New Deal 1:22:07 - Risks around artificial intelligence 1:24:58 - Rise of relationships with AI 1:28:41 - First Chatbot ELIZA 1:30:01 - Electricity use of AI 1:37:30 - The Future of Human Nature 1:41:19 - Peak Oil 1:42:29 - Mental Health Crisis 1:46:35 - Correlation of COVID with IQ loss Watch this video episode on YouTube
5/8/20241 hour, 53 minutes, 7 seconds
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Pella Thiel: "Ecocide and The Rights of Nature”

On this episode, Nate is joined by maverick ecologist Pella Thiel to discuss the legal frameworks behind the Ecocide and Rights of Nature Movements. Our current economic and legal systems have no mechanisms to consider nature in our decision making - much less to make systemic planetary stability a priority. Could redefining the destruction of our biosphere to be considered a crime parallel with that of genocide alter the way we structure laws governing our societies and economies? How are countries legislating and enforcing these ideas - even going so far as to act against the flow of the superorganism? Most importantly, how could top-down legal ideas such as these interact with bottom-up individual action to create powerful shifts in cultural values and motivations?  About Pella Thiel: Pella Thiel is a maverick ecologist, part-time farmer, full-time activist and teacher in ecopsychology. She is the co-founder of Swedish hubs of international networks like Swedish Transition Network and End Ecocide Sweden and a knowledge expert in the UN Harmony with Nature programme. Pella was awarded the Swedish Martin Luther King Award in 2023 and the Environmental Hero of the year 2019. Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/JgRlgKHvKCE  More info, and show notes: www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/121-pella-thiel 
5/1/20241 hour, 18 minutes, 27 seconds
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7 Thought Experiments for Earth Day | Frankly #62

Recorded April 22 2024   Description   For this Earth Day in 2024 Frankly, Nate walks through 7 thought experiments geared towards imagining scenarios and outcomes for ourselves, society, and the planet. While not rooted in reality, thinking through hypotheticals can be a valuable way to reflect on our ethics, ideals, and future decision points. From the perceived quick-fix of solar panels to magic solutions for infrastructure and governance, how might human cultural values impact outcomes for the biosphere? How do humans and the climate shape each other, and what does that mean for the less stable climate we’re headed towards? If they knew what we do today, could humans from hundreds of years ago have avoided the carbon pulse - and what opportunities do we have today, living in the future's past?   YouTube Link here    For Show Notes and More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/62-seven-thought-experiments-for-earth-day
4/26/202414 minutes, 33 seconds
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Tom Chi: "Net Positive for the Planet – from Beavers to Bionics”

On this episode, Nate is joined by inventor and investor Tom Chi to take a broad look at the principles guiding innovation and capital - and how we might shift these to be more biophysically aligned in the future. For the past few centuries, our global industrial system has been dominated by growth-based economics without awareness of its dependence on the biosphere - or the waste that it leaves behind. What would it mean for our technology to be ecologically centered, working in service of and in synergy with complex, biodiverse life on Earth? How can we work within our current financial and governance systems to create initiatives that benefit both ecosystems and economies? More broadly, what cultural shifts could we imagine that move beyond seeing ourselves as simply dependent on ecological systems - but rather as a part of the entangled whole?  About Tom Chi Tom Chi is the founding partner of At One Ventures, which backs early-stage (Seed, Series A) companies using disruptive deep tech to upend the unit economics of established industries while dramatically reducing their planetary footprint. Previously, Tom was a founding member of Google X where he led the teams that created self-driving cars, deep learning artificial intelligence, wearable augmented reality and internet connectivity expansion. Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/AjGOGfzAvyc  More info, and show notes: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/120-tom-chi 
4/24/20242 hours, 19 minutes, 29 seconds
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The Strait of Hormuz and ‘the Spice’ | Frankly #61

Recorded April 17 2024   Description In this week’s Frankly, Nate focuses on the importance of the Strait of Hormuz, a geographic location within a 700-mile radius of Israel called the “Black Gold Triangle” where more than half of the world’s remaining oil lies under the sand. In the midst of high-stakes geo-political events where the misery and threats from warring nations dominate discourse, we remain (mostly) energy blind to the choke points that lie at the center of these conflicts, which if disrupted could send our liquid-combustible-fuel dependent economies crashing. How could the threat of expanding regional wars - especially Iran’s potential response in the Strait of Hormuz - impact the world’s reliance on the flow of oil? Who are the people making world-altering decisions - and do they have the best interest of the future in mind? Can a heightened awareness of our global system’s dependency on fragile energy supply chains shift our focus away from escalating risks towards deconfliction and peace?      YouTube Link here   For Show Notes and More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/61-the-strait-of-hormuz-and-the-spice
4/19/202412 minutes, 37 seconds
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Luther Krueger: "Goldilocks Tech? A Solar Oven Overview"

On this episode, Nate is joined by Solar Oven collector and educator Luther Krueger to discuss the ins and outs of solar cooking. In the western world, most of us are used to indoor, gas or electric stoves, typically powered by fossil fuels, and in a third of the world, people are still using solid fuels - wood, coal, or dung - which come with many health and environmental risks. Solar ovens are an alternative which makes use of passive solar energy at a range of temperatures and can be made from basic or reused materials. What would it take on a cultural and economic level for more people to adopt these low-tech solutions? How can solar cooker designs vary to match the needs of the individual and community in varying environmental conditions? Could we take inspiration from this example of Goldilocks Technology for other areas of our lives in a slower, lower-energy throughput future? About Luther Krueger Since 2004 Luther Krueger has been collecting unique classic and contemporary solar cookers and promoting solar cooking as the means to halt deforestation, clean unsafe drinking water in remote areas of developing countries, and reducing any community's dependence on fossil fuel. Krueger's unincorporated, volunteer-run Big Blue Sun Museum of Solar Cooking aims to preserve the history of solar cooking while promoting the practice through the video series on the Museum's youtube channel and as contributing moderator to the Solar Cookers World Network on social media and by promoting solar cooking at regional events. Krueger is a Senior Community Faculty member at Metropolitan State University where he teaches the Capstone course for the Master of Public and Nonprofit Administration degree program. Krueger retired from the Minneapolis Police Department in 2023 after twenty-eight years as a civilian community liaison and crime analyst, where he developed and launched several community policing initiatives. Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/AaLHkRRbbT4 More info, and show notes: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/119-luther-krueger
4/17/20241 hour, 11 minutes, 54 seconds
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The 17 Things I Am 100% Certain About | Frankly #60

Recorded April 8 2024   Description In this week’s Frankly, Nate offers a list of things he is absolutely certain of… or as certain as any human can be. Each of us has grounding beliefs about the reality around us with which we shape our outlook on the world and how we’d like to interact with it. How will planetary and energetic limits interact with human society and culture in the future? Can we recognize truisms about our world without becoming closed off to ways of learning and understanding? What are the fundamental realities of the world around us - and how do they constrain our pathways for the future?    YouTube Link here    For Show Notes and More: 
4/12/202420 minutes, 9 seconds
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Michael Every: "The Many -Isms of the Metacrisis”

On this episode, Nate is joined by financial analyst Michael Every to discuss global macro trends in economics, politics, and social movements. By taking a wide-view lens of current events, we can better see how seemingly isolated events interconnect and what mainstream economic theories tend to miss. What do rising political tensions and dissatisfaction around the globe amidst increasing GDP tell us about the accuracy of our economic measures? How much are geopolitical conflicts and supply chain disruptions contributing to current inflationary pressures? And what can we learn from current economic models as we steer towards a new system with lower energy throughput in a multipolar world?  About Michael Every: Michael Every is Global Strategist at Rabobank Singapore analyzing major developments and key thematic trends, especially on the intersection of geopolitics, economics, and markets. He is frequently published and quoted in financial media, is a regular conference keynote speaker, and was invited to present to the 2022 G-20 on the current global crisis. Michael has lived and worked in 9 countries and been in the industry for nearly 25 years, with previous roles at Silk Road Associates, the Royal Bank of Canada, and Dun & Bradstreet. He holds a BA from Lancaster University, and a master’s degree from University College London. Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/F_DhZaVoflA  More info, and show notes: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/118-michael-every 
4/10/20241 hour, 49 minutes, 31 seconds
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7 Meta Questions About Our Global Metabolism | Frankly #59

Recorded April 4 2024   Description   Based on this week’s podcast episode with Geoffrey West, which covered how biological scaling applies to human economies, this week’s Frankly is a reflection on what this might mean for the future of our societies. Throughout history and up to today, there are scaling patterns driving our social and infrastructural metabolism - potentially shedding light on some long debated questions about the limits of our ability to design our societies. Do we as humans have the agency to create different paths towards less resource consumption, or are we trapped within a previously hidden law of nature? Will the resource and waste limitations of our biosphere force us to live differently, regardless of our choices? More hopefully, can understanding we have a metabolism change our metabolism, and steer futures away from the current default?   Watch on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qb-9CMM6Ac   For Show Notes and More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/59-7-meta-questions-about-our-global-metabolism
4/4/202415 minutes, 15 seconds
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Geoffrey West: "Metabolism and the Hidden Laws of Biology”

On this episode, physicist Geoffrey West joins Nate to discuss his decades of work on metabolic scaling laws found in nature and how they apply to humans and our economies. As we think about the past and future of societies, there are patterns that emerge independently across cultures in terms of resource use and social phenomena as the size of a city grows. Does Kleiber’s law, which describes the increasingly efficient use of energy as an animal gets larger - also apply to human cities? How have humans deviated from this rule through excess social consumption beyond a human body’s individual metabolic needs? What could we learn from these scaling laws to adjust our communities to be more aligned with the biophysical realities of energy and resource consumption? Can an understanding of social metabolism impact our social metabolism? About Geoffrey West Geoffrey West is the Shannan Distinguished Professor and former President of the Santa Fe Institute and an Associate Senior Fellow of Oxford University’s Green-Templeton College. West is a theoretical physicist whose primary interests have been in fundamental questions ranging across physics, biology and the social sciences. His work is motivated by the search for unifying principles and the “simplicity underlying complexity”. His research includes metabolism, growth, aging & death, sleep, cancer, ecosystems, innovation and the accelerating pace of life. Most recently he has been developing a science of cities and companies, including the challenge of long-term global sustainability of the anthroposphere. He is the author of the best-selling book Scale; The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies. Find out more, and show notes: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/117-geoffrey-west Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/my9a9Ftr7ek
4/3/20241 hour, 41 minutes, 17 seconds
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The Fellowship of the Ring - ‘Bend Not Break' Version | Frankly 58

In this Frankly, Nate recasts his favorite book series, the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien, with some speculative “archetypes” of our human world grouped by various timelines. The eventual reduction in energy and material accessibility will likely alter the archetypes that we’re familiar with today - perhaps to become something not helpful to larger society. What categories of human archetypes in the future will have the potential to best influence their communities and the Earth? What will the most powerful among us choose when it comes to protecting their (monetary, temporary) wealth vs using it towards prosocial collective responses? Finally, and most importantly what archetypes will form a new Fellowship of humans to ‘bring the ring to Mordor’ during humanity’s ‘Bend not Break’ moment? Which archetype do you resonate with? Are there others?   Watch on Youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3oh-zdo-l8I   For Show Notes and More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/58-the-fellowship-of-the-ring-bend-not-break-version  
3/29/202423 minutes, 45 seconds
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Riane Eisler: "Domination and Partnership in Society"

On this episode, Nate is joined by systems scientist Riane Eisler to discuss her decades of work studying ‘domination’ and ‘partnership’ societies throughout history and what it might mean to transition to more sustainable societies in the future. What we value at the individual and family level directly translates to the way we frame our governance systems - societies that emphasize empathy and caring also implement the same types of policies and values. How could we foster the more cooperative side of our humanity across all scales to create empowered communities and balanced decision making? What societies - past and present - lean towards a partnership paradigm and what benefits do their people receive? Is it possible to move away from violence and control oriented systems and into ones that value wide boundaries of empathy and understand the vital nature of care work? About Riane Eisler Riane Eisler is the President of the Center for Partnership Systems, which provides practical applications of her work, and Editor in Chief of the online Interdisciplinary Journal of Partnership Studies published at the University of Minnesota. Eisler’s innovative whole-systems research offers new perspectives and practical tools for constructing a less violent, more egalitarian, gender-balanced, and sustainable future. She is author of many books, including The Chalice and the Blade, now in its 57th US printing and 27 foreign editions, The Real Wealth of Nations, and Nurturing Our Humanity co-authored with Douglas P. Fry. For more information, see www.rianeeisler.com and www.centerforpartnership.org. Find out more, and show notes: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/116-riane-eisler  Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/UUF5XWOxVdY 
3/27/20241 hour, 9 minutes, 43 seconds
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Information Bifurcation | Frankly #57

Recorded March 19 2024   Description   In this Frankly, Nate reflects on ten dichotomies that he sees prevalent in our current culture of information consumption and media.  We are increasingly bombarded with news from traditional media outlets as well as emerging smaller platforms. Yet interpreting these inputs depends on the individual and societal lenses we use, alongside the presentation of and quality of the information itself. Further, how are academic and scientific sources of information becoming increasingly gatekept - accessible to only those who can pay? What should individuals keep in mind as we navigate biases and underlying intentions surrounding journalism and educational content? Are we able to set aside our internalized perspectives of the world and listen to what is being said - rather than leaning into what our identities want us to hear?   To Watch on Youtube: https://youtu.be/ZRQ3g36ZtWo   For Show Notes and More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/57-information-bifurcation
3/22/202415 minutes, 6 seconds
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Patrick Knodel: "Question Everything - Towards Cooperation & Change”

On this episode, Nate is joined by impact investor Patrick Knodel to discuss how philanthropy and non-profit work might make positive change beyond the superficial level. The power of understanding the values and lived realities of other cultures is often overlooked but is central to finding meaningful interventions and support. Through connecting with people across the globe, Patrick has a deep sense of how to create projects that span beyond single issues, and support the autonomy of communities while preserving the land they inhabit. What does it mean to be constantly learning and questioning what you think you know - and why is it important? Is it possible to change the system from within, shifting away from growth and power paradigms perpetuated by our current institutions? How can we develop worldviews that transcend mainstream narratives and work towards true awareness of the big picture around us? About Patrick Knodel Patrick Knodel is the CEO of the knodel foundation, an impact investing firm which focuses on projects that increase sustainability and autonomy for the Global South. He also directs the investments for purpose driven and impactful startups through PANDION INNOVATION for IMPACT GmbH. Patrick has a background in economics and entrepreneurship, but his worldview and drive for non-profit projects has been shaped through his travels. Through all of his work he listens, learns, and tries to influence people with regards to issues around wealth, war, and humanity. Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/YU60Kn88b6c More details, and show notes: www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/115-patrick-knodel
3/20/20241 hour, 33 minutes, 59 seconds
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Chuck Watson: "NATO in Ukraine: from Proxy to Participants”

On this special episode, risk analyst Chuck Watson returns to discuss the current state of the conflict in Ukraine and the potential for escalation. With the conflict centered around resource control, cultural clashes, and political posturing - will European countries now push to keep the United States involved with the conflict? More, are we seeing the full picture from the perspective of western media? Who is really winning this 'open secret war' and what is the context behind the various realities of the players in this conflict? Are there still peaceful, stable options that maneuver us away from open war and what would those mean for the rest of the world? About Chuck Watson Chuck Watson has had a long career in military and intelligence work, with a specialty in natural and human made disaster modeling. He worked for the US Air Force, was an attache to US Ambassadors to the Middle East Robert McFarland, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as a Soviet expert. Chuck has worked as an advisor to the military for over four decades with a particular emphasis on big data, open source intelligence, with an emphasis on the Soviet Union and Russia. Chuck is also the founder and Director of Research and Development of Enki Holdings, LLC, which designs computer models for phenomena ranging from tropical cyclones (hurricanes) and other weather phenomena, earthquakes, and tsunamis, as well as anthropogenic hazards such as industrial accidents, terrorism, and weapons of mass destruction.  Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/0CeoLYQGUF0 More details, and show notes: www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/114-chuck-watson 
3/15/202456 minutes, 44 seconds
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Lyn Alden: "The Myth of Frictionless Finance"

On this episode, Nate is joined by investment strategist Lyn Alden to discuss how energy and technology have shaped our monetary system and current financial trends. While more people are becoming aware of energy’s foundational role in our global systems, it is still widely overlooked, especially among those working in finance. In contrast, Lyn’s biophysically rooted analysis of macroeconomic patterns expose the cyclical dysfunction of the world’s economy. How has increasing energy availability and productivity offset the inflationary nature of fiat currencies - and what happens if this trend were to slow or reverse? What assumptions and biases have led most analysts to mis-read long term trends, leaving us with vulnerable economies? Is it possible to rejigger our systems and innovate more biophysically aligned tools to enable a smoother transition into a future with a lower energy throughput?    About Lyn Alden:   Lyn Alden is an independent analyst and founder of Lyn Alden Investment Strategy with a background in engineering management. Her work provides institutional-level research in plain English, so that both institutional investors and retail investors can benefit from it. Lyn also serves as an independent director on the board of Swan.com and as a general partner at the venture capital firm Ego Death Capital. She is the author of the 2023 best-selling book Broken Money about the past, present, and future of money through the lens of technology. Lyn has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in engineering management, with a focus on engineering economics, systems engineering, and financial modeling. She worked for over a decade as an electrical engineer at the Federal Aviation Administration’s William J. Hughes Technical Center.   For Show Notes and More visit: thegreatsimplification.com/113-lyn-alden  To watch this video episode on Youtube → https://youtu.be/JTbZaSL1pHI
3/13/20241 hour, 40 minutes, 27 seconds
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Peak Oil, AI, and the Straw | Frankly #56

Recorded March 5 2024   Description  In this Frankly, Nate shares his perspective on the new all-time high in oil production in the context of AI’s growing influence in the financial markets and technology space. While ‘all liquids’ just hit an all time high, the varying categories of what is considered oil obfuscates a long plateau that is starting to decline. However, given AI’s expanding reach, it may not only invent ways of getting a higher percentage of Original Oil In Place to our economies, but also increase demand for energy worldwide. In similar fashion to shale fracking, MMT, and debt, AI will increasingly widen the resource extraction/ecosystem damage “straw”. Artificial intelligence is potentially a wonderful tool, but it is lower down the hierarchy than money/power maximization and thus will accelerate, not diminish climate change and other environmental damages. Can we resist the cleverness of AI and its ability to drain sources to the very last drop to instead navigate the road to the Great Simplification with wisdom?      YouTube Link here   For Show Notes and More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/56-peak-oil-ai-and-the-straw
3/8/202424 minutes, 41 seconds
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Samantha Sweetwater: "Life at the Center”

On this episode, thought leader and ceremonial guide Samantha Sweetwater joins Nate to share her journey through mysticism and guiding others through their own unique spiritual paths. Strengthening relationality is a critical component for fostering deeper connections to nature - including fellow humans - and subsequently creating more cooperative, peaceful societies. Within a culture which predominantly values linear processes, Samantha’s work has centered around finding a balance between convergent thinking and the relational intelligence we’ve neglected. What can we learn from the various indigenous cultures who understand their entanglement with the land? Is it possible for future societies to value a more balanced development across the spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical aspects of its people? How can we - as individuals - nurture the subjective, intersubjective, and objective within ourselves to create more holistic sensemaking within a complex world?  About Samantha Sweetwater:   Samantha Sweetwater is a writer, soul mentor, strategic partner and deeply loved ceremonial guide. She has facilitated transformational experiences in diverse communities, cultures and industries on five continents for over 30 years. Her work bridges spirituality, science, psychedelics, indigenous wisdom, transpersonal psychology, embodiment and deep ecology. She leads experiences and conversations about our relationship with the earth, spirituality and systemic change that transform the way we think about what it means to be human. Samantha is the founder and director of One Life Circle, a plant medicine ministry tending our intimacy with and belonging to Life. She also advises companies and organizations in the areas of technology, health, materials economy and psychedelics. As the former founder of Dancing Freedom and Peacebody Japan, she pioneered the conscious dance movement—facilitating tens of thousands of people and training hundreds of facilitators to seed communities around the globe. She holds an MA in Wisdom Studies and a BA in Social Theory and the Dance with a minor in Legal Philosophy. She has been initiated by indigenous teachers in Africa, South America and the US.    Her first book, True Human: Reimagining Ourselves at the End of Our World, will be available Fall Equinox 2024. For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/112-samantha-sweetwater To watch this video episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/-D_y4jqxnmM
3/6/20241 hour, 22 minutes, 38 seconds
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7 Key Interventions for the Future | Frankly #55

Recorded February 26 2024   Description   In this Frankly, Nate shares insights on his personal/organizational priorities as a lead up to outlining 7 global interventions that he sees as being most impactful in preparing for a resource constrained future. As global stability deteriorates and the various macro-crises converge, how we invest our time and resources now can have a big impact for the various scenarios coming our way.  Can we as individuals and communities place health and wellness at the forefront of our responses - which would in turn leverage many other higher impact initiatives? What would healthy humans surrounded by community and a shared purpose, informed by the ecological systems synthesis be able to accomplish?   To Watch on Youtube: https://youtu.be/Mk84BZANyWk   For Show Notes and More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/55-7-key-interventions-for-the-future  
3/1/202427 minutes, 30 seconds
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Sandra Faber: "The Universe and Our Place in It”

On this episode, astrophysicist Sandra Faber joins Nate for a wideview cosmological conversation on the development of the known-universe and the moral implications for humanity’s role within it. We are the first generation with the ability to truly understand the history of the universe and the extreme bottlenecks that Earth and life as we know it had to endure over the last billions of years. This understanding of where we come from gives us insight into who we are - and could perhaps give purpose to those searching for meaning in the vast universe. From the Big Bang on, how did the necessary conditions come together to create the environment so many of us take for granted today? How do the laws of physics restrict everything that has ever happened in the universe - and everything that ever will? Could a deeper understanding of the cosmos shift our culture towards one that values human’s survival into deep time - and incentivize biophysically and ecologically aligned systems? About Sandra Faber Sandra Faber is an American astrophysicist known for her research on the evolution of galaxies. She is the University Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and works at the Lick Observatory. She has made discoveries linking the brightness of galaxies to the speed of stars within them and was the co-discoverer of the Faber–Jackson relation. Faber was also instrumental in designing the Keck telescopes in Hawaii. At UCSC she focuses her research on the evolution of structure in the universe and the evolution and formation of galaxies. In addition to this, she led the development of the DEIMOS instrument on the Keck telescopes to obtain spectra of cosmologically distant galaxies. On August 1, 2012 she became the Interim Director of the University of California Observatories. Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/04jg5--t8RQ  Show notes, and more info: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/111-sandra-faber 
2/28/20241 hour, 26 minutes, 16 seconds
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John Robb: "Networked Tribalism, AI, and Asteroids"

On this episode, Nate is joined by author and technology analyst John Robb to discuss how geopolitics, information warfare, and technology are shaping how we understand the world and interact with each other. With the recent rise in global tensions and violence, plus an escalating threat of catastrophic scenarios, more and more people sense that the system is unstable. Coupled with accelerating developments in artificial intelligence, we live in an environment where interpretation and sensemaking - especially at an individual level - are more difficult than ever. What do these trends and challenges mean for governments and corporations trying to control the flow of information and data? How will near-term technological advancements affect the trajectories of politics, science, and journalism - and is it possible for individuals to be aware of and mitigate their influence? During a time where communication and collective problem solving is more important than ever, will it be possible to navigate between tribes and ideological groups amidst increasing polarization and fractured information systems? About John Robb John Robb currently publishes the Global Guerrillas Report, which covers the intersection of War, Politics, and Technology. He served as a tier one special ops, after which he went on to be a popular internet analyst, entrepreneur, the COO of a software company that open sourced the current RSS standard, and much more. He also published the book Brave New War on the subject of the future of warfare. Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/b2n_Jk37cLE  Show notes, and more info: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/110-john-robb 
2/21/20241 hour, 51 minutes, 30 seconds
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Reflections From India | Frankly #54

Recorded February 13 2024   Description   Returning from his first visit to India for a six-week limbic reset, Nate shares insights on both his personal experiences in the country and how its history, culture, and role as a rising economic power intermingle to create a unique position into the coming decades. Despite India’s history of avoiding globalization and industrialization, westernized patterns are emerging, including an expanding reliance on fossil fuels - and resultant convenience and consumption. Yet, with a population exceeding 1.4 billion, significant labor devoted to agriculture, and increasing vulnerability to global heating, India will face unique challenges and opportunities within the human predicament. As many Indians remain unaware of their country’s growing role in global heating and the effects it will bring, what alternative opportunities for permaculture and other restorative projects remain within the Indian subcontinent? How could India’s abundant wealth of social capital and unique history/ethos help its people resist the encroachment of the Superorganism and play a larger role in the global Great Simplification?     To watch on Youtube: https://youtu.be/DFSdUexPGw4   For Show Notes and More:   
2/16/202412 minutes, 49 seconds
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Ashley Hodgson: "The New Enlightenment and Behavioral Economics”

On this episode, Nate is joined by Ashley Hodgson, a professor in behavioral economics, where she offers a perspective on the superorganism and what she calls ‘The New Enlightenment’. By taking a wide-lens look at the way our human systems work, we can see the incentives and structures that push power towards consumptive, short-sighted, and destructive pathways. How could we ‘rejigger’ these systems to be more aligned with values and goals conducive to supporting humans long into the future? What are the natural laws that inherently depreciate systems - and how might we think about counteracting them? As we enter a world where the perpetual growth we’ve come to expect is no longer possible, how can we lean into the creativity and ingenuity required when thinking about new economic paradigms? About Ashley Hodgson Ashley Hodgson is an Associate Professor of Economics and a YouTuber.  She teaches Behavioral Economics, Digital Industries, Health Care Economics, and Blockchain Economics.  Her YouTube channel, The New Enlightenment, explores topics related to economics, governance, and epistemics – that is, the determination of truth and validity – in a world of social media and increasing power concentration.  Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/lEUhSSl83-Y  Show notes, and find out more: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/109-ashley-hodgson 
2/14/20241 hour, 5 minutes, 59 seconds
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Steve Keen: "On the Origins of Energy Blindness”

On this episode, economist Steve Keen offers a deep forensic history of why modern economic theory has neglected the role of energy in productivity - and why this “Energy Blindness” is now a major blindspot in how our culture views the present - and the future.  The massive, temporary carbon surplus we’ve extracted over the last few centuries has resulted in an exponential increase in the standard of living for many. This explosion of global economic growth also happened to coincide with the development of all modern economic theories and formulas, leading to a core misunderstanding in the way our economies are powered. How have technology and innovation been used to cover up the role of a growing energy supply in the last century of rising prosperity? In the midst of discussions between value and labor, where does energy really fit into the equation? Where do we go once we understand the true role of energy in our economy - and will we have the ability to reshape economic policies to be in line with our energy realities? About Steve Keen Steve Keen is an economist, author of Debunking Economics and The New Economics: A Manifesto. His new book, Rebuilding Economics from the Top Down, will be released in 2024. He is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Strategy, Resilience, and Security at University College in London. Steve was one of the handful of economists to realize that a serious economic crisis was imminent, and to publicly warn of it from as early as December 2005. This, and his pioneering work on modeling debt-deflation, resulted in him winning the Revere Award from the Real World Economics Review. Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/lrMWSkzrMYg Show notes, and more info: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/108-steve-keen 
2/7/20241 hour, 32 minutes, 41 seconds
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Mario Giampietro: "Models with Meaning - Changing Social Practices”

(Conversation recorded on October 17th, 2023)     Show Summary:    On this episode, Nate is joined by biophysical analyst Mario Giampietro to unpack his decades of research on a wide-lens view of the challenges facing the human system. With current metrics that only optimize for one variable, increasingly reductionist academic fields, and scientific communication consistently falling short, researchers who look at how all the pieces of our predicament fit together and most effectively help others understand will become more essential. How does the scope with which we look at a problem affect the subsequent information we gather and decisions we make? In what way should we frame the narratives that we create to best inform our leaders and the public about the obstacles of the future? Will taking on these issues from a different lens help to create better, multi-dimensional responses that include biophysical, cultural, and social components as we move into the coming decades?    About Mario Giampietro:   Mario Giampietro has recently retired from the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA), Barcelona. Until September 2023, he was ICREA Research Professor at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain. He has dedicated his academic career to the integrated assessment of (uncomfortable) sustainability issues using concepts from complex systems theory. He has developed a novel methodology, Multi-Scale Integrated Analysis of Societal and Ecosystem Metabolism (MuSIASEM), that integrates biophysical and socioeconomic variables across multiple scales, thus establishing a link between the metabolism of socio-economic systems and potential constraints of the natural environment. Recent research has focused on the nexus between land use, food, energy, and water in relation to SDGs. He has (co)authored over 150 publications, including six books.    For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/107-mario-giampietro   To watch this video episode on Youtube → https://youtu.be/HFZ3NPPPPS0   
1/31/20241 hour, 23 minutes, 52 seconds
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Alexa Firmenich: "Biodiversity, Beauty, and Being”

On this episode, Nate is joined by Alexa Firmenich, whose work spans biodiversity advocacy, ESG investing, wilderness excursion facilitating, and podcasting/creative writing. Together, they philosophize on the importance of developing a connection to nature and understanding the - often overlooked - but critical function of biodiversity to the climate and other natural systems. Alexa also delves into her thinking about new economic and cultural models on human systems that could work within the biosphere. How can acknowledging our individual roles as a part of the Earth’s larger system give us a new perspective on what it means to live among its other inhabitants? Why does a system full of external incentives ultimately disincentivize our natural human inclination toward pro-sociality? Will a future of lower energy throughput result in each of us rekindling the inherent connection with the land that we live on, leading to simpler lives - yet perhaps more fulfilling ones?  About Alexa Firmenich: Alexa Firmenich is an investor, consultant and facilitator focused on climate and biodiversity. She is the co-director of SEED, a new center of the Crowther Lab at ETH Zurich. SEED is developing the world's most holistic measure of biodiversity that reflects multiple scale’s of nature's complexity for any location on the planet, with the goal to steer financial and political decision-makers to crystallize the value of nature into the global economy. Alexa is also the founder of Ground Effect, an animist investment vehicle that supports early stage nature-based solutions, scientific research and new economic models. Parallel to this work she is trained as a group facilitator in leadership development and ecological pedagogy, designing multi-day learning journeys through her role at Leaders' Quest.  She is also an author, podcast host of Lifeworlds, a founding board member of Terra Habitus, a Mexican environmental fund that operates large-landscape conservation and watershed restoration, and a wilderness guide.  For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/106-alexa-firmenich  To watch this video episode on Youtube: https://youtu.be/4POPay2sIr8   
1/24/20241 hour, 44 minutes, 7 seconds
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The Haves & The Have-Nots | Frankly #53

Recorded December 18 2023   Description   In this Frankly, Nate follows up the recent Reality Roundtable on poverty with a wider perspective on the different types of "wealth" in our society that go beyond the material. At the same time that the power dynamic of the economic superorganism leads us to a hyperfocus on the pursuit of growth and monetary wealth, other forms of poverty increase:  relationships, skills, health, and behavioral deficits. How do our assumptions and societal expectations align with the reality of what it means to be rich? Can reflecting on our own place within the various “Haves” and “Have-Nots” help us be more compassionate towards others and direct us to a more stable and sane place in society? How will the turmoil and decrease in total material wealth in the coming decades change what it means to be wealthy - and how does that influence the actions and investments we take on today?    YouTube Link here   For Show Notes and More:  
1/19/202414 minutes, 39 seconds
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Leon Simons: "Aerosol Demasking & Global Heating”

On this episode, Nate is joined by climate researcher Leon Simons to unpack recent trends in global heating during 2023 and potential explanations and subsequent projections for the coming year. While the connection between human emitted greenhouse gasses and global warming is scientifically agreed upon, the other complexities and feedbacks of our climate system are still just beginning to be understood. Today, Leon theorizes on the intensity of aerosol masking from particulates such as sulfur, based on the connection between recent changes in marine fuel sulfur requirements and corresponding climate data. How will the global trend towards aerosol reductions affect near and long term global heating? What does this catch-22 mean for potential future climate action and policy? How should we be thinking about creating a more simplified global system in response to the unknown unknowns of our potential future climate? About Leon Simons Leon Simons is a climate researcher and science communicator at the Club of Rome Netherlands and is studying the effects of reduction in sulfur emissions on regional and global radiation changes and its impact on global heating. Most recently he was a co-author of the paper Global Warming in the Pipeline with renowned climate scientist James Hansen. Leon is also the founder of Magic Ventures BV, which works to make clean cooking technologies accessible to people everywhere.  For Show Notes and More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/105-leon-simons Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/RPAnoSt6FnY   Slides referenced in this episode 15:43 - Slide 3 23:24 - Slide 3 24:30 - Slide 4 30:46 - Slide 5 32:29 - Slide 6 36:38 - Slide 7 39:55 - Slide 7 42:29 - Slide 8 50:55 - Slide 10  
1/17/20241 hour, 24 minutes, 54 seconds
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Jane Muncke: "Perils of Plastic Packaging”

On this episode, toxicology scientist Dr. Jane Muncke joins Nate to discuss the current state of food production and the effects of ultra processed foods and their packaging on our health. Over the last century processed food has taken over our supermarkets and our diets, and at the same time the containers they’re sold in have evolved as well - to be more eye-catching and keep food ‘good’ for longer. But what have we sacrificed in exchange for efficiency, ease, and convenience? How do the chemicals used in packaging and processing transfer into the food we eat and subsequently end up in our bodies? Will switching away from these toxic food practices require more local food supply chains - and correspondingly simpler diets and lifestyles? About Jane Muncke Jane Muncke holds a doctorate degree in environmental toxicology and a MSc in environmental science from the ETH Zurich. Since 2012 she has been working as Managing Director and Chief Scientific Officer at the charitable Food Packaging Forum Foundation (FPF) in Zurich, Switzerland. FPF is a research and science communication organization focusing on chemicals in all types of food contact materials. She is a full scientific member of the Society of Toxicology (SOT), the Society for Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology (SETAC), the American Chemical Society (ACS) and the Endocrine Society. Since 2019, she has been an elected expert member of the Swiss Organic Farming Association Bio Suisse’s committee on trade and processing where she contributes to further developing the standards for processing and packaging of organic food. She is a director of the FAN initiative, a collective of experts warning about resource overshoot, the polycrisis, and related societal collapse. Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/I2-roqSWjFo  More info, and show notes: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/104-jane-muncke 
1/10/20241 hour, 19 minutes, 51 seconds
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The Behavioral Stack | Frankly #52

Recorded December 18 2023   Description   In this Frankly, Nate offers a personal reflection on his learnings about ‘awareness’ vs ‘focus’ and how this knowledge could be used as a guide toward more thoughtful behaviors. The human body’s system has evolved through time and the layers were built sequentially, each interacting and reacting to the systems below it. By becoming aware of this and attempting to balance them from the bottom up, we could move away from the reactionary tendencies that many in our culture are now pulled towards. How does an overstimulating, dopamine driven modern environment affect our brains ability to cope? How do our behaviors change when our systems are in a constant state of fear or dissatisfaction? What would the world look like if we spent more time reflecting and realigning rather than in perpetual fight, flight, or freeze mode?  For Show Notes and to learn more: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/52-the-behavioral-stack To Watch on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QynYlsW35Sw&list=PLdc087VsWiC5im7eWkCD0t907MbOAftb3
1/5/202418 minutes, 11 seconds
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Peter Brannen: "Deep Time, Mass Extinctions, and Today”

On this episode, Nate is joined by Peter Brannen, science journalist and author specializing in Earth’s prior mass extinctions, to unpack our planet’s geologic history and what it can tell us about our current climate situation. Humans have become very good at uncovering the history of our planetary home - revealing distinct periods during billions of years of deep time that have disturbing similarities to our own present time. How is the carbon cycle the foundation of our biosphere - and how have changes to it in the past impacted life’s ability to thrive? On the scales of geologic time, how do humans compare to the other species who have inhabited this planet - 99% of which have gone extinct - and will we end up being just a blip in the fossil record? How can an understanding of geologic and climate science prepare us for the environmental challenges we’ll face in the coming decades? About Peter Brannen Peter Brannen is an award-winning science journalist and contributing writer at The Atlantic. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Wired, Aeon, The Boston Globe, Slate and The Guardian among other publications. His 2017 book, The Ends of the World covers the five major mass extinctions in Earth's history. Peter is currently a visiting scholar at the Kluge Center at the Library of Congress and an affiliate at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He was formerly a 2018 Scripps Fellow at CU-Boulder, a 2015 journalist-in-residence at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center at Duke University, and a 2011 Ocean Science Journalism Fellow at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, MA. Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/3l81C_11D7A More information, and show notes: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/103-peter-brannen  
1/3/20241 hour, 42 minutes, 22 seconds
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Bill McKibben: "Climate, Movements, and Power”

On this episode, environmental activist and author Bill McKibben joins Nate for a reflection on the last few decades of climate education and movements – and the possibilities and challenges that we’ll face ahead. Among a system that is dependent on growth and embedded in a biosphere full of limits (which we continue to surpass), working towards shifting our societies to be ecologically balanced is potentially the most important mission to which an individual can contribute - yet this is much easier said than done. What have been the largest barriers towards actual effective climate action since emissions have continued in a straight line up since the 20th century? What power structures stand as a barrier to proactive initiatives, and which ones could we utilize to propel movements forward? How can we prepare and organize at the individual, community, and national levels, as we look ahead to climate - and other - challenges we’re likely to face in the coming decades? About Bill McKibben Bill McKibben is founder of Third Act, which organizes people over the age of 60 for action on climate and justice. His 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has appeared in 24 languages. He’s gone on to write 20 books, and his work appears regularly in periodicals from the New Yorker to Rolling Stone. McKibben helped found 350.org, the first global grassroots climate campaign, which has organized protests on every continent, including Antarctica, for climate action. He played a leading role in launching the opposition to big oil pipeline projects like Keystone XL, and the fossil fuel divestment campaign, which has become the biggest anti-corporate campaign in history. Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/qCrgpdHCO3U  Find out more, and show notes: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/102-bill-mckibben
12/20/20231 hour, 19 minutes, 44 seconds
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Systemic Themes for 2024 | Frankly #51

Recorded December 17 2023   Description   In this final Frankly of 2023, Nate outlines some global themes that are worth keeping an eye on in 2024. From climate change to domestic and global politics to an unstable financial system, world events continue to converge. How will the social fabric of our society respond as changes to our current way of life continue to grow? How do these seemingly isolated events interconnect and enhance each other? How will governments, businesses, and individuals respond to these circumstances as more people are propelled from the lives we’ve become used to and into an unfolding Great Simplification?    For Show Notes and More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/51-systemic-themes-for-2024   To watch on Youtube: https://youtu.be/xgMv73iabjQ  
12/18/202314 minutes, 46 seconds
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Arthur Berman: "Shale Oil and the Slurping Sound”

On this episode, Arthur Berman returns to unpack the complexity underpinning the oil trends of the last 75 years and what new data can tell us about availability in the coming years. After decades of declining oil production in the United States, the past decade of rising oil extraction has eased many worries about peak oil. But the past few years of continued growth have been obtained by using “a larger straw”, merely delaying the inevitability of the depletion of a finite resource. Art presents recent data on well productivity in US shale plays indicating we are much closer to ‘the slurping sound’. How does technology hide the declining availability of oil reserves, causing us to extract and use them faster without creating any new resources? Going beyond geology, how do geopolitics, finance, and social opinion affect oil availability? Where do we go when economically viable oil isn’t available anymore - and will we have the prudence to make the cultural shifts necessary before we have no other options? Have we now passed ‘peak oil’? About Arthur Berman Arthur E. Berman is a petroleum geologist with 36 years of oil and gas industry experience. He is an expert on U.S. shale plays and is currently consulting for several E&P companies and capital groups in the energy sector. Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/qqTh2nBEcCs  Find out more, and show notes: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/101-art-berman
12/13/20231 hour, 30 minutes, 27 seconds
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Stephanie Hoopes, Peter Kilde, Marc Perry, Dalitso Sulamoyo: “Poverty Blind” | Reality Roundtable #7

On this Reality Roundtable, Nate is joined by four professionals with decades of experience working with low-income communities, Stephanie Hoopes, Peter Kilde, Marc Perry, and Dalitso Sulamoyo to discuss the state of poverty in the United States. Even in the wealthiest country in the world, poverty is a pernicious problem - and in a future that is more resource constrained it will only get worse. Do the current official measurements of poverty accurately portray the living standards of most Americans? How are poverty and agency entangled, and how do we empower both for people who currently aren’t meeting survivability standards? What role does community and social capital play in alleviating resource limitations and creating a better quality of life?  About Stephanie Hoopes Stephanie Hoopes, PhD, is the National Director of United For ALICE at United Way of Northern New Jersey. She developed the ALICE (Asset, Limited, Income, Constrained, Employed) measures for a pilot study of the low-income community in Morris County while at Rutgers University-Newark, and has since overseen the expansion to a national effort with ALICE data for all 3,000 U.S. counties. Her research has garnered the attention of local, state, and national media. Dr. Hoopes has a doctorate degree from the London School of Economics. About Peter Kilde  Peter Kilde has been ED of West CAP, an anti-poverty community action agency in West Central Wisconsin since 1995.  West CAP has developed and manages multiple low-income housing projects, and operates homelessness, weatherization, food security, adult literacy and skills, and various sustainable community programs. Peter served on the National Community Action Partnership Board of Directors, where he established and co-chaired the Partnership for Climate Resilience which focuses on how CAP agencies across America can help their communities adapt to Climate Change. Peter also serves on the Wisconsin Community Action Program Association (WISCAP) Board, the regional Workforce Development Board. About Marc Perry  Marc Perry has more than 25 years’ experience working with youth and adults from diverse backgrounds. Marc currently serves as the Executive Director for Community Action Inc., of Rock and Walworth Counties where he is responsible for making sure the organization stays true to its mission of moving families toward economic self-reliance. Marc provides training and technical assistance for partner organizations and facilitates cultural equity workshops for both private and public institutions, including school districts, NGOs and law enforcement entities throughout the Midwest. About Dalitso Sulamoyo Dalitso Sulamoyo was born and raised in Malawi, South East Africa.  Since moving to the United States of America in the early 1990s, he has made economic and social justice a focal part of his career. Dalitso Sulamoyo has been the Chief Executive Officer of the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission since June 2017. As the CEO, Dalitso oversees a multi-faceted government agency with over 140 different federal, state, and local grants and contracts with a budget of over $6million. The agency’s services range from transportation planning, police training, energy efficiency training, community services, workforce development, economic and community development to early childhood education for income eligible families. For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/rr07-hoopes-kilde-perry-sulamoyo  To watch this video episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/359aiDUDHRo 
12/10/20231 hour, 22 minutes, 57 seconds
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COP 28 and the Smoke Under the Door | Frankly #50

In this week’s Frankly, we join Nate in a fascinating thought experiment imagining participants in this week’s COP 28 in Dubai are liberated from the usual social sorting mechanisms which constrain real, forthright, challenging conversation around solving our most dire issues.  What questions might participants ask at COP28 if there were no fear of losing social status and how might this liberation change the conversation around global heating?   As social primates, there is a stainless steel ceiling on how much we can say in large groups of other humans -especially high status ones.  Like the famous “smoke under the door” experiment of the 1970s, as the events of our world get more complex and more threatening, our first reality filter is observing the response of contemporaries. If they are unconcerned, we too tend to be.  Unlike the one-room controlled college experiment, we now live in a smoke filled world, and the stakes couldn't be higher. If you were sitting in Dubai at the convening of COP 28, what question would you ask given the state of the world right now?? For Show Notes and to learn more: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/50-cop-28-and-the-smoke-under-the-door To Watch on YouTube 
12/8/20230
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Nate Hagens: "Episode 100 - The Great Simplification” (Interviewed by Kate Raworth)

On this special 100th episode, Nate is interviewed by his friend and colleague in the metacrisis space, Kate Raworth. The conversation is a reflection on the past two years of podcasting – and how Nate’s worldview has evolved because of it. What fundamental concepts could help us better understand the trends happening around us and the potential futures they point to? With so many moving pieces, how can we begin to create a coherent story of the world around us and - even more difficult - start preparing responses to coming challenges? What should individuals aware of these converging crises be thinking about in order to prepare themselves, their families, and their communities for a materially smaller future? About Nate Hagens Nate Hagens is the Director of The Institute for the Study of Energy & Our Future (ISEOF) an organization focused on educating and preparing society for the coming cultural transition. Allied with leading ecologists, energy experts, politicians and systems thinkers, ISEOF assembles road-maps and off-ramps for how human societies can adapt to lower throughput lifestyles. Nate holds a Masters Degree in Finance with Honors from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont. He teaches an Honors course, Reality 101, at the University of Minnesota. About Kate Raworth Kate Raworth describes herself as a renegade economist focused on making economics fit for 21st century realities. She is the creator of the Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries, and co-founder of Doughnut Economics Action Lab, based on her best-selling book Doughnut Economics: 7 Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist. Kate is a Senior Associate at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute, where she teaches on the Masters in Environmental Change and Management. She is also Professor of Practice at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. She is a member of the Club of Rome and currently serves on the World Health Organisation Council on the Economics of Health for All. Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/GocuMZX3hIs Learn more, and show notes: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/100-nate-hagens
12/6/20232 hours, 8 minutes, 56 seconds
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Jeremy Grantham: "Pollution, Population & Purpose”

On this episode, Nate is joined by co-founder of GMO Financial Holdings, Jeremy Grantham, to discuss how finance, human population, ecology, and pollution interact to shape current trends and what they could tell us about the future. Mr. Grantham unpacks why the expectations of perpetual growth - in the economy, standards of living, and finance - are not so likely and that when looking at the system holistically we should expect large paradigm shifts in the coming decades. What can the pattern of super (stock market) bubbles over the last century tell us about the larger resource bubble we find ourselves in? How will rapidly changing population demographics and fertility rates interact with the other global crises we face? How might endocrine disrupting chemicals impact these other trends? Where should investors be focusing energy and resources towards to make the largest and most positive impact on human and planetary futures?  About Jeremy Grantham Jeremy Grantham co-founded GMO in 1977 and is a member of GMO’s Asset Allocation team, serving as the firm’s long-term investment strategist. He is a member of the GMO Board of Directors, a partner of the firm, and has also served on the investment boards of several non-profit organizations. Prior to GMO’s founding, Mr. Grantham was co-founder of Batterymarch Financial Management in 1969 where he recommended commercial indexing in 1971, one of several claims to being first. He began his investment career as an economist with Royal Dutch Shell. Mr. Grantham earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Sheffield (U.K.) and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He is a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences, holds a CBE from the UK and is a recipient of the Carnegie Medal for Philanthropy. For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/99-jeremy-grantham  To watch this video episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/cTvN9iFJ0fY 
11/29/20232 hours, 20 minutes, 31 seconds
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Artificial Intelligence vs Real Ecology | Frankly #49

In this Frankly, a follow up to “One Ring to Rule Them All”, Nate unpacks the common misconception that AI is the answer to all our energy and ecological problems, specifically climate change. As the development of AI continues to accelerate, many propose that we are entering the ‘Exponential Age’, yet what’s ignored is that we’ve just lived through an age of exponential impact on Earth’s systems. Under this same ‘operating system’, AI can at best act as a more powerful tool for the continuation of this phenomenon - not to restore ecological stability as some would hope.  If AI is based on current cultural goals and aspirations, who will ultimately benefit and who will pay the costs? What types of solutions is AI capable of developing - and more importantly, where is the interplay of AI and human responsibility required to then implement those ideas to fruition?     To Watch on Youtube: https://youtu.be/zY29LjWYHIo   For Show Notes and More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/49-ai-vs-real-ecology
11/17/202317 minutes, 29 seconds
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Helen Thompson: "The Complex History of Energy & Geopolitics”

On this episode, political economist Helen Thompson and Nate discuss how energy and geopolitics have interconnected over the past century, building to the entangled political relationships we see around us today. The dynamics of power on a global scale are complex - stemming from access to energy, financial control, military strength, credibility/trust, and much more - yet we can understand these a bit better by learning the history that shaped them. How have geologic provinces of energy dense carbon created inherent hot spots on the geopolitical playing field? How has the global monetary system and debt evolved to strengthen the power of a select few countries and how difficult is it to break from this system? Do our leaders have the capability/knowledge to connect energy and geopolitical policy in order to guide us through a future of declining energy availability?    About Helen Thomspon:   Helen Thompson is Professor of Political Economy at Cambridge since 1994. Her current research concentrates on the political economy of energy and the long history of the democratic, economic, and geopolitical disruptions of the twenty-first century. She is a regular panelist on Talking Politics and a columnist for the New Statesman. She is a co-presenter of UnHerd's podcast, These Times and recently published Disorder: Hard Times in the 21st Century.   For Show Notes and More visit:  https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/98-helen-thompson To watch this video episode on Youtube → https://youtu.be/FQbdNXQcT3E
11/15/20232 hours, 30 seconds
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Fossil Free Food Systems: Jason Bradford, Andrew Millison, Vandana Shiva, Daniel Zetah | Reality Roundtable #06

Show Summary:    On this Reality Roundtable, Nate is joined by small-scale farmer Jason Bradford, permaculturist and documentarian Andrew Millison, regenerative agriculture activist Vandana Shiva, and regenerative farmer and educator Daniel Zetah to discuss the feasibility of a food system fully or mostly independent of fossil fuel inputs. While a non-industrialized agriculture system is certainly possible (it was the norm for the majority of human history), what that will look like and how we even begin such a transition is daunting with a population of 8 billion humans to feed. How do we teach people the skills they’ll need as fossil inputs become less affordable, reliable, and accessible? Can we create a cultural shift towards a slower lifestyle that is more connected to the land which provides us food? What do the people of a society look like where we are once again centered around agriculture and in tune with the flows of nature? How would our relationship with jobs and the land have to change?   About Jason Bradford:   Jason Bradford has been affiliated with Post Carbon Institute since 2004, first as a Fellow and then as Board President. He worked for the Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development at the Missouri Botanical Garden, was a Visiting Scholar at U.C. Davis, and during that period co-founded the Andes Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research Group (ABERG). He decided to shift from academia to learn more about and practice sustainable agriculture, and in the process, completed six months of training with Ecology Action (aka GrowBiointensive) in Willits, California, and then founded Brookside School Farm.   About Andrew Millison:   Andrew Millison is an innovative educator, storyteller and designer. He founded the Permaculture Design education program at Oregon State University (OSU) in 2009. At OSU Andrew serves as an Education Director and Senior Instructor who offers over 25 years of experience, and a playful approach to regenerative design. Andrew is also a documentary videographer who travels the world documenting epic permaculture projects in places such as India, Egypt, Mexico, Cuba, and throughout the US. You can view his videos and series on his YouTube channel. About Vandana Shiva   Vandana Shiva is a well known activist, author of many books, and is a global champion on regenerative local agriculture, biodiversity and nutritious food. She has a PhD in physics and 40 years ago founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, an independent research institute that works on the most significant ecological problems of our times.  About Daniel Zetah:   Daniel grew up on a farm in Minnesota where he learned to fix all manner of things driven from an insatiable curiosity about how things worked. He studied economics and business at university. After waking to our planetary predicament, he became a full time environmental activist, then moved to an off grid community in the mountains where he studied permaculture and built straw bale houses. He moved back to America to help steer culture in a more sane direction. He and his wife Stephanie moved back to the family farm in Minnesota where they are growing 80% of their calories, rebuilding the local ecology, and educating and empowering people to wrest back control of their sovereignty as human beings.    For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/rr06-bradford-millison-shiva-zetah To watch this video episode on Youtube → https://youtu.be/lb2tJXopTJA  
11/12/20231 hour, 31 minutes, 18 seconds
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Chuck Watson: "The Nuclear Wild West"

(Conversation recorded on November 2nd, 2023)     Show Summary:    On this episode, Nate is re-joined by risk expert Chuck Watson for a candid discussion of recent news regarding the nuclear developments between Russia and the United States. As the world’s attention is focused on the events in the Middle East, US testing and development of new nuclear weapons and Russia’s decision to pull out of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty last week have been overlooked and underreported by major media. Yet, in the bigger picture these trends represent some of the most imminent risks to life on Earth as we know it. What is the history behind this framework of trust that took decades to develop, and how quickly might our current fear spiral destroy it? Are the people in positions of power aware of the dangers of this situation and acting with appropriate caution? What should concerned individuals and leaders understand and advocate for to minimize this truly existential risk?   About Chuck Watson:   Chuck Watson has had a long career in military and intelligence work, with a specialty in natural and human made disaster modeling. He worked for the US Air Force, was an attache to US Ambassadors to the Middle East Robert McFarland, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as a Soviet expert. Chuck has worked as an advisor to the military for over four decades with a particular emphasis on big data, open source intelligence, with an emphasis on the Soviet Union and Russia. Chuck is also the founder and Director of Research and Development of Enki Holdings, LLC, which designs computer models for phenomena ranging from tropical cyclones (hurricanes) and other weather phenomena, earthquakes, and tsunamis, as well as anthropogenic hazards such as industrial accidents, terrorism, and weapons of mass destruction.    For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/97-chuck-watson To watch this video episode on Youtube → https://youtu.be/8T9vGNNdKKs
11/8/202356 minutes, 47 seconds
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The Biophysical Taxman Cometh | Frankly #48

Recorded October 31 2023   Description In this Frankly, Nate expands on our conventional definition of “taxes” to highlight nine other categories that will ‘tax’ our modern lifestyles. Traditionally, when we think of net and gross income, we only think of direct government taxes that subtract from what we take home. What are other taxes - resulting from our system's ecology - which will factor into the way society can pay for the goods and services we’ve become used to? As converging global crises intensify and each add their own ‘tax’, can we learn to manage with a smaller “net “ resource balance sheet - and maintain our time, sanity, and humanity through the coming decades?   Watch on Youtube: https://youtu.be/27WBbdMcfmM   For Show Notes and More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/48-the-biophysical-taxman-cometh      
11/3/202317 minutes, 23 seconds
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David Holmgren: "Small and Slow Solutions - Permaculture Design”

On this episode, Nate is joined by ‘permaculture’ author and educator David Holmgren to discuss his experience within the movement and what it might look like for more systems to be designed using permaculture in the future. While often thought to be an agricultural tool, permaculture thinking is meant for designing human systems to be embedded in nature - an important principle for a future where societies will need to re-synchronize with natural flows. What does it mean for permaculture design to ‘scale up’, and how is it different from how we usually think about growing a system? How will permaculture design change as we move through different phases of resource availability? More importantly, how can the ‘small and slow’ foundation of permaculture help human societies adapt to a lower throughput future as we navigate The Great Simplification? About David Holmgren  David Holmgren is best known as the co-originator of permaculture. In 1978, he and Bill Mollison published Permaculture One, starting the global permaculture movement. Since then, David has developed three properties, consulted and supervised on urban and rural projects, written eight more books, and presented lectures, workshops and courses in Australia and around the world. His writings over those three decades span a diversity of subjects and issues, whilst always illuminating aspects of permaculture thinking and living. Holmgren Design would like to offer a discount on RetroSuburbia to The Great Simplification listeners. Get a 20% discount on RetroSuburbia plus a free copy of Our Street for the month of November by using code: Nate at this link: http://retrosuburbia.com/nate Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/A9hW4Jh9hF0  Show Notes & Links to Learn More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/96-david-holmgren 
11/1/20231 hour, 40 minutes, 17 seconds
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Frankly Re: Franklys | Frankly #47

Recorded October 27 2023   Description   In this forty-seventh Frankly, Nate reflects on…..Franklys. As real time global events move faster and faster, they alter the timing (and content!) of planned Frankly reflections on aspects of our global discourse. In light of this, Nate offers a raw take on events in Israel (and financial markets) and a growing list of upcoming topics relevant to the unfolding human predicament. The purpose of these Franklys is not to provide real time intel or analysis but is instead to continually provide a systems lens to inform the scout team of humans who seek an integrated world view to inform their actions.  Our tendencies to focus on single issues - the war in Israel, the geo-political impacts of the Russia/Ukraine war, the growing financial crisis and debt, global heating - challenges our ability to build a broader awareness of how these pieces fit together and shine light on the viable  paths we can still take to the future.  Is it possible to focus less on productivity and more on awareness and reflection?  Can we effectively change the consciousness of those in power? How can we attempt to navigate the ever-shorter road to the Great Simplification?   For Show Notes and More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/47-frankly-re-franklys   To Watch on Youtube: https://youtu.be/ZJbKVu7vbLk
10/27/202316 minutes, 46 seconds
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Sir David King: "Global Heating: The Science and the Response”

On this episode, Nate is joined by climate scientist and policy ambassador Sir David King to unpack the current situation regarding Earth’s climate system and human response (or lack thereof) to the accelerating heating of the atmosphere. While there are many uncertainties this field still grapples with, the fundamentals of the rising average global temperature as a response to increasing man-made greenhouse emissions are widely recognized by the global scientific community. Yet - especially in the United States - climate change remains a contentious issue, making it an even tougher political topic with no easy solutions. What is the basic science behind our understanding of the atmosphere?  Will we resort to geoengineering to avert the worst climate outcomes - and which plans look the most promising? What are the implications of global heating for the coming decades and beyond? About Sir. David King Sir David King is an Emeritus Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Cambridge. He is the Chair of the Climate Crisis Advisory Group, Founder of the Centre for Climate Repair at Cambridge, and an Affiliate Partner of SYSTEMIQ Limited. He was the UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser from 2000-2007 and the Foreign Secretary's Special Representative on Climate Change from 2013-2017. He also spearheaded a collaborative program called Mission Innovation, which involved 25 countries and the EU to create a publicly funded £23bn pa research and development international exercise aimed at delivering all technologies needed to complete the transition into a fossil-fuel-free world economy. He has been a Fellow of the Royal Society since 1991 and a Foreign Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2002. Sir Dave was knighted in 2003 and made "Officier dans l'ordre national de la Légion d'Honneur" in 2009. Recently, he was also named The American Association for the Advancement of Science 2022 Hamburg Awardee for Science Diplomacy. Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/u7jETRJrkmk  Show Notes & Links to Learn More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/95-sir-david-king 
10/25/20231 hour, 50 minutes, 1 second
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Chuck Watson: "War, Rumours of War, and Governance”

On this Special episode Nate speaks once again with risk expert Chuck Watson for a critical assessment of the unfolding situation around Israel which adds to the rapidly escalating dangers of our current geopolitical landscape. As tensions rise, the potential risks that geopolitical confrontation in the Middle East poses could spill over into energy, economic systems, and our social fabric - Chuck lends his deep expertise and decades of experience to shed light on these complex dynamics. How do our individual perspectives of where history begins influence who we see as “good” or “evil” and is it even possible to find an unbiased source of ‘truth’? What does Western diplomacy look like in a world no longer based on fear - and will the United States risk being stretched too thin trying to preserve the unipolar world of past generations? How do we even begin to navigate the minefield of geopolitical tensions that seem to be growing daily so as to maintain some sort of stability that avoids catastrophic outcomes in coming years? About Chuck Watson Chuck Watson has had a long career in military and intelligence work, with a specialty in natural and human made disaster modeling. He worked for the US Air Force, was an attache to US Ambassadors to the Middle East Robert McFarland, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as a Soviet expert. Chuck has worked as an advisor to the military for over four decades with a particular emphasis on big data, open source intelligence, with an emphasis on the Soviet Union and Russia. Chuck is also the founder and Director of Research and Development of Enki Holdings, LLC, which designs computer models for phenomena ranging from tropical cyclones (hurricanes) and other weather phenomena, earthquakes, and tsunamis, as well as anthropogenic hazards such as industrial accidents, terrorism, and weapons of mass destruction. Show Notes & Links to Learn More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/94-chuck-watson
10/20/20231 hour, 13 minutes, 56 seconds
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Joris van der Schot: "Oil Refining 101 and Other Energy Stories”

On this episode, Nate is joined by energy industry professional Joris van der Schot to explain the basics of oil refineries, their limitations, and other cultural narratives about energy. Oil is the lifeblood of our economies, yet most of us know so little about how it actually becomes all the different final products that we use. Just how massive is the scale of our energy consumption? How flexible and resilient are oil refineries to shifting oil demand? Can we keep an open mind to realistic and helpful innovations while also grounding our preparations for the future in practical energy strategy ahead of The Great Simplification? About Joris van der Schot Joris van der Schot is a former Royal Dutch Shell executive with over a decade of international experience in the oil industry, where he held roles as a control systems engineer, corporate strategy advisor, refinery economist and lastly, the company's global aviation gasoline supply manager.After a sabbatical year in Provence, Joris left the oil industry and set out on a quest to accelerate the clean energy transition through breakthrough technology. He currently works at french scale-up Energy Pool, providing storage and other flexibility services that enable the integration of renewable energy on the electricity grid. Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/kmzzIWkTLyU More info, and show notes: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/93-joris-van-der-schot 
10/18/20231 hour, 6 minutes, 40 seconds
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Food & Community in the Ruins: Dougald Hine, Chris Smaje, Pella Thiel | Reality Roundtable #05

On this Reality Roundtable, philosopher and writer Dougald Hine, social scientist and farmer Chris Smaje, and ecologist and farmer Pella Thiel join Nate to discuss the future of food and community. Our disconnected relationship to agriculture and our neighbors have been shaped by a modern industrial society fueled by surplus hydrocarbon energy. What will these relationships look like in a lower energy future, where we need to once again work with each other and the land, rather than in isolation. Can we learn from history to celebrate with each other in times of abundance and find strength in community in times of need? In the present world where people are in constant search for meaning and purpose, what are strategies to find joy in simplicity and well-being through the growing and sharing of food? About Dougald Hine Dougald Hine is a social thinker, writer and speaker. After an early career as a BBC journalist, he co-founded organizations including the Dark Mountain Project and a school called HOME. His latest book is At Work in the Ruins: Finding Our Place in the Time of Science, Climate Change, Pandemics & All the Other Emergencies (2023). He co-hosts The Great Humbling podcast and publishes a Substack called Writing Home. About Chris Smaje Chris Smaje is a writer, social scientist and small-scale farmer, co-running a mixed holding in Somerset, southwest England. He's the author of A Small Farm Future (2020) and Saying NO to a Farm-Free Future (2023), both published by Chelsea Green. He blogs at and is contactable via www.chrissmaje.com. About Pella Thiel Pella Thiel is a maverick ecologist, part-time farmer, full-time activist and teacher in ecopsychology. She is the co-founder of swedish hubs of international networks like Swedish Transition Network and End Ecocide Sweden and a knowledge expert in the UN Harmony with Nature programme. Pella was awarded the swedish Martin Luther King Award in 2023 and the Environmental Hero of the year 2019. Watch on YouTube https://youtu.be/NVeCw-Ljenk Show Notes & Links to Learn More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/rr05-hine-smaje-thiel 
10/15/20231 hour, 28 minutes, 21 seconds
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The Middle East: Stormwatch | Frankly #46

In this Frankly, Nate shares his perspective on the recent events in the Middle East and how they could lead to a shortening of the timeline to The Great Simplification. For those fortunate to live outside the direct impacts of these conflicts, many feel pressure to stay informed about this turbulent, global landscape. Is it possible to also remain grounded in the present realities of our daily lives? How do individual responses to this past week’s geopolitical events vary depending on the livelihood demands of the here and now? Is it possible to live simply in our own lives while also engaging globally ahead of the Great Simplification?   For Show Notes and More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/46-the-middle-east-stormwatch   To Watch on Youtube: https://youtu.be/wODlwoKJEE0
10/13/202310 minutes, 44 seconds
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Arthur Berman: "BRICS+, Strategic Petroleum Reserve & Metaphysics”

On this episode, Art Berman returns to give a broad update on the state of global oil - from BRICS+ and shale oil to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and oil investment. As Art says, ‘oil is the economy’ and understanding the complex dynamics of the oil market provides insight into the entire economic system. How do geological luck and foreign policy create the global stage for oil markets? What is the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, have we been misusing it, and does it matter in comparison to larger energy policy blunders? What are the current dynamics affecting oil prices and how will this affect the long term out-look of oil availability? Please note: this episode was recorded prior to the Israel/Palestine events of last weekend. About Arthur Berman Arthur E. Berman is a petroleum geologist with 36 years of oil and gas industry experience. He is an expert on U.S. shale plays and is currently consulting for several E&P companies and capital groups in the energy sector. Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/n-IetuaYLmw More info, and show notes: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/92-art-berman   
10/11/20231 hour, 32 minutes
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One Ring to Rule Them All | Frankly #45

In this Frankly, Nate refers to a favorite timeless book series, The Lord of the Rings, to describe ‘the nine rings for mortal men’ - behavioral tendencies that are common among humans based on our evolutionary nature but become counterproductive within modern culture. These traits drive the growth of the Superorganism through ‘one ring to rule them all’, the amassing of power and the synergy of agricultural surplus, fossil energy, money, and Artificial Intelligence. Can this out of control power dynamic be broken and redirected away from the influence of the One Ring?  Will we have the courage and wisdom to stop our drive to amass power as we approach the Great Simplification?   For Show Notes and More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/45-one-ring-to-rule-them-all   To Watch on Youtube: https://youtu.be/zXgIAQZu3I4
10/6/202316 minutes, 44 seconds
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Luke Gromen: "Peak Cheap Oil and the Global Reserve Currency”

On this episode, financial analyst Luke Gromen joins Nate to discuss how the availability of cheap energy has underpinned our current financial architecture and expectations - and what peak cheap oil implies for the future. A central part of this story is the rise of the US dollar as a global reserve currency tightly linked with the ability to purchase oil - subsequently leading to the US becoming a major exporter of debt. How have countries with economies based on natural resources and manufacturing differed in their response to geopolitical uncertainty in comparison to those who are based around finance and the service industry? What might the response be from countries holding US debt in anticipation of a declining oil supply? What does this mean for the future of global currencies in a simplified global economy and a finance system that will eventually need to be re-tethered to the finite nature of Earth?    About Luke Gromen:   Luke Gromen is the Founder and President of research firm Forest For The Trees, LLC, whose goal is to aggregate a wide variety of macroeconomic, thematic and sector trends in an unconventional manner to identify investable developing economic bottlenecks for clients. Luke founded FFTT to apply what clients and former colleagues consistently described as a “unique ability to connect the dots” during a time when he saw an increasing “silo-ing” of perspectives occurring on Wall Street and in corporate America. Luke has 25 years of experience in equity research, equity research sales, and as a macro/thematic analyst. He holds a BBA in Finance and Accounting from the University of Cincinnati and received his MBA from Case Western Reserve University. He earned the CFA designation in 2003.   For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/91-luke-gromen To watch this video episode on Youtube → https://youtu.be/bIq0o40Jo80
10/4/20231 hour, 31 minutes, 16 seconds
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Nick Haddad: "Insects - A Silent Extinction”

On this episode, Nate is joined by Professor Nick Haddad, a conservation scientist with a focus on butterflies and other insects. Nick unpacks what decades of research have indicated about the declining state of insect populations, which act as the foundation of critical ecosystem functions. The overlooked degradation of butterflies, beetles, bees, ants, ladybugs, and countless other species have huge ripple effects across our local and global ecological functions - from a loss of bird populations to a reduced ability to grow food. Why are we not more concerned about the health and vitality of these critical organisms? Can humans - or life as we know it - survive without these little creatures? What can we do as individuals, businesses, and governments to help insects rebound as quickly as possible, and in turn strengthen the health of everything else. About Nick Haddad Professor Nick Haddad is co-lead of the Long Term Ecological Research site at Kellogg Biological Station at Michigan State University. He leads decades-long, landscape-scale experiments that bring scientific principles to conservation actions. He studies how landscape diversity, including prairie strips through croplands, affect biodiversity, especially of plants and insects, and of ecosystem services including pollination, biocontrol, and decomposition. For three decades he has led the world’s largest experiment testing the role of landscape corridors in increasing dispersal of most plant and animal species, and increasing plant diversity. He has conducted long-term restoration experiments to guide conservation of rare butterflies in the face of climate and land use change. Nick brings together ideas in science and management through ConservationCorridor.org. Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/_qzS5Nig4_w Show notes and more info: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/90-nick-haddad 
9/27/20231 hour, 26 minutes, 18 seconds
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Sian Sutherland: "Innovating the Business of Plastics”

On this episode, Nate is joined by Sian Sutherland, a leader in the movement towards reducing the overconsumption of plastic and its waste. The modern era is dependent on fossil fuels for many reasons - one of the most covertly ubiquitous ones being plastic. Everyday we are surrounded by it - encasing our food, woven in the threads of our clothes, and even permeating into the water that we drink. How do we begin to break off this addiction to the convenience and utility of plastics? How does this connect to the larger implications of a society embedded in a linear, consumption-based system dependent on growth? What role can industry, governments, and individuals each play in creating structural shifts to reduce our reliance on plastic - and ultimately return to a slower, more circular way of life? About Sian Sutherland Sian Sutherland is Co-founder of A Plastic Planet, one of the most recognised and respected organizations tackling the plastic crisis. More recently, she also co-founded PlasticFree, the first materials and systems solutions platform, empowering the 160m global creatives to design waste out at the source. Sian was awarded the Female Marketer of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, and British Inventor of the Year. In 2023 at the UN Plastics Treaty negotiations (INC2), in partnership with Plastic Soup Foundation, A Plastic Planet launched the Plastic Health Council, bringing expert scientists to the negotiating process with the irrefutable proof of plastic chemicals impact on human health. Passionately pro-business and solutions focused, Sian believes the plastic crisis gives mankind a rare gateway to change both materials and systems to create a different future for next generations. Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/jTs6KejhSg4  More Info & Show Notes: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/89-sian-sutherland 
9/20/20231 hour, 15 minutes, 43 seconds
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Robert Sapolsky: "The Brain, Determinism, and Cultural Implications”

On this episode, neuroscientist and author Robert Sapolsky joins Nate to discuss the structure of the human brain and its implication on behavior and our ability to change. Dr. Sapolsky also unpacks how the innate quality of a biological organism shaped by evolution and the surrounding environment - meaning all animals, including humans - leads him to believe that there is no such thing as free will, at least how we think about it today. How do our past and present hormone levels, hunger, stress, and more affect the way we make decisions? What implications does this have in a future headed towards lower energy and resource availability? How can our species manage the mismatch of our evolutionary biology with our modern day challenges - and navigate through a ‘determined’ future? About Robert Sapolsky: Robert Sapolsky is professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University and a research associate with the Institute of Primate Research at the National Museum of Kenya. Over the past thirty years, he has divided his time between the lab, where he studies how stress hormones can damage the brain, and in East Africa, where he studies the impact of chronic stress on the health of baboons. Sapolsky is author of several books, including Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, A Primate's Memoir, Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst, and his newest book coming out in October, Determined: Life Without Free Will. He lives with his family in San Francisco. Watch this video episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/xhobcj2K9v4 For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/88-robert-sapolksy 
9/13/20231 hour, 57 minutes, 54 seconds
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Titanic Oceans: Daniel Pauly, Antonio Turiel, Peter Ward | Reality Roundtable #04

On this Reality Roundtable, marine biologist Daniel Pauly, ocean physicist Antonio Turiel, and paleobiologist Peter Ward join Nate to discuss the numerous oft-overlooked threats to the Earth’s great oceans. From overfishing and plastic pollution to climate change and acidification, the human system is assaulting one of the most important regulators for our climate and the largest habitat for life - anywhere. What early indicators of climate impacts are these great bodies of water showing us as we hit record heat across the oceans, fish populations dwindle, and major currents slow? Why are concerns for the ocean so overlooked and what further research needs to be done? Will we learn to value these high seas for all the priceless value they give us, or will we take them for granted until it’s too late? About Daniel Pauly Dr. Daniel Pauly is a Killam Professor at the University of British Columbia. In 1999, Daniel Pauly founded, and since leads, a large research project, Sea Around Us, devoted to identifying and quantifying global fisheries trends. Daniel Pauly is also co-founder of FishBase.org, the online encyclopedia of more than 30,000 fish species, and he has helped develop the widely-used Ecopath modeling software. He is the author or co-author of over 1000 scientific and other articles, books and book chapters on fish, fisheries and related topics. About Antonio Turiel Antonio Turiel Martínez is a scientist and activist with a degree in Physics and Mathematics and a PhD in Theoretical Physics from the Autonomous University of Madrid. He works as a senior scientist at the Institute of Marine Sciences of the CSIC specializing in remote sensing, turbulence, sea surface salinity, water cycle, sea surface temperature, sea surface currents, and chlorophyll concentration. He has written more than 80 scientific articles, but he is better known as an online activist and editor of The Oil Crash blog, where he addresses sensitive issues about the depletion of conventional fossil fuel resources, such as the peak of oil and its possible implications on a world scale. About Peter Ward Peter Ward is a Professor of Biology and Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington. He is author of over a dozen books on Earth's natural history including On Methuselah's Trail: Living Fossils and the Great Extinctions; Under a Green Sky; and The Medea Hypothesis, 2009, (listed by the New York Times as one of the “100 most important ideas of 2009”). Ward gave a TED talk in 2008 about mass extinctions. Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/tSgPQyq_jyE More information & show notes: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/rr04-pauly-turiel-ward 
9/10/20231 hour, 30 minutes, 1 second
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The Many Shapes of the Carbon Pulse | Frankly #44

In this Frankly, Nate describes the Carbon Pulse - a one time massive consumption of fossil hydrocarbons at a pace millions of times faster than they were created. He outlines the many shapes that this pulse could take, as well as some shapes it will never take. Compared to previous carbon pulses that led to mass and minor extinctions, how does the modern pulse compare?  What can what we know about ecology and human behavior tell us about the most likely paths into descent? Can thinking about these graphs on such grand geologic time scales help guide us away from the Precipice and towards a more Sapient Future?    For Show Notes and More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/44-the-many-shapes-of-the-carbon-pulse   To Watch on Youtube: https://youtu.be/BjG7a58Y0Ig
9/8/202320 minutes, 47 seconds
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Graham Palmer: "Energy Storage and Civilization: A History”

On this episode, Nate is joined by Graham Palmer, a scholar and engineer in the field of energy. While this show frequently covers the importance of energy itself, this discussion focuses on how the ability to store and access energy has critically shaped societies. From agriculture, to wood, to coal, to oil, each transition has marked a new way for humans to interact with the world around them. What would it mean for economic growth if we no longer have access to these storable energies? What does the necessity of storability mean for electricity - an inherently flow-based energy form? Would human societies moving back to a flow-based energy system also mean once again becoming in-sync with the Earth and her ecosystems? About Graham Palmer Graham Palmer is a researcher at Monash University, with an industry background as an engineer and researcher in manufacturing, HVAC and electronics. He has published in the area of biophysical economics, renewable energy, life-cycle analysis, and energy-economic modeling. Graham obtained his PhD in the area of energy-return-on-investment (EROI) of electricity supply. His current research interests include the future role of emerging energy storage systems. Listen on YouTube: https://youtu.be/tSsp_XyXfyY  More info and show notes: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/87-graham-palmer
9/6/20231 hour, 4 minutes, 50 seconds
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Fossil Energy Subsidies: The Bottom Line | Frankly #43

In this week’s Frankly, Nate reacts to recent analysis by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) critical of 2022 subsidies to fossil fuel. These subsidies - by IMF math totalling $7+ trillion - are not what they seem, resulting in widespread confusion on what is really going on.  By peeling back the layers of the onion on these oft-misunderstood benefits - Nate outlines what comprises these fossil fuel subsidies, who receives them, the purpose they serve, and who benefits from them (spoiler alert - we ALL do). How do these subsidies fit into the larger story of the huge energy surplus that fossil fuels have provided? What will it mean for societies when the subsidy that is fossil fuels goes away? Will we be prepared when the externalities - paid for in these subsidies - catch up with us and we need to learn to live with the aftermath of the Carbon Pulse? To Watch on Youtube: https://youtu.be/DpcjHqXYrFs For Show Notes and More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/42-fossil-energy-subsidies-the-bottom-line  
9/1/202313 minutes, 26 seconds
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Lisi Krall: "Agriculture, Surplus, and the Economic Superorganism”

On this episode, ‘Superorganisms’ converge as Nate is joined by economist and anthropologist Lisi Krall to discuss the evolutionary origins of our current systemic predicament. Starting with the Agricultural Revolution, the evolutionary conditions of surplus and ultrasociality have combined to shape the way humans interact with their environment, ultimately leading to our current out of control global economy. Is this global system an inevitable emergent phenomenon of the human condition? Does surplus inherently breed inequality and hierarchy, such as the current capitalist system? What type of social evolution will we experience as we meet the limits of an expansionary system and move towards a Great Simplification? About Lisi Krall Lisi Krall is a professor of economics at State University of New York, Cortland. Dr. Krall engages a heterodox and transdisciplinary approach to understanding economic systems, their etiology, structure, dynamic, and the relationship between humans and the more-than-human world that is contextualized through them. She incorporates evolutionary biology, anthropology, history, heterodox economics, and deep materialism to understand how we arrived at this paradoxical moment where humans appear trapped in an economic system that functions as if it is not of this Earth at the same time it is clearly a material system. Her latest book, Bitter Harvest: An Inquiry into the War Between Economy and Earth, explores the formation and evolution of the economic system (the economic superorganism) that took hold beginning with the cultivation of annual grains and is now embodied in global capitalism. For Show Notes and more: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/86-lisi-krall Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/eQNI4bUv_Fs  More details & show notes: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/86-lisi-krall 
8/30/20231 hour, 21 minutes, 23 seconds
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Running the 'Systems Discourse' Gauntlet | Frankly #42

In this week’s Frankly, Nate considers 7 different continuums of perspectives people use when taking part in a “systems” discourse, such as The Great Simplification podcast is attempting.  In such complex and often controversial discussions, each of us has a point of view that stems from our own personal experiences, knowledge and identity - yet how we channel that point of view into the larger discourse matters. How does understanding our own perspectives potentially help us side-step mental roadblocks and become more open to other possibilities and actions? What are the hidden ruts that we can fall into when discussing the future with others that we’re not consciously thinking of and can we learn to avoid them? Can shifting our perspective along the spectrum of potential responses open dialogue and facilitate more inclusive and cooperative conversations as we collectively try to meet the future halfway?   To Watch on Youtube: https://youtu.be/XsNmLwX2X_4 For Show Notes and More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/42-running-the-systems-discourse-gauntlet 
8/25/202314 minutes, 45 seconds
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Iain McGilchrist: “Wisdom, Nature, and the Brain”

On this episode, literary scholar and psychiatrist Iain McGilchrist joins Nate to discuss the way modern culture teaches and encourages us to use - and not use - the two lobes of our brains. While most functions require the use of both sides of our brains, each side is specially attuned to see and interact with the world in certain ways: the left side acts as a narrow problem solving executor, while the right side is a broadly open contextualizer. What happens when we humans - in aggregate - become imbalanced in our use of these two critical functions? Have we divided the Earth into pieces to be optimized rather than a whole (which we’re a part of) to be stewarded?  Can we learn to bring these two components of our brains back into balance and in turn heal fractures in ourselves, and ultimately in our communities, Earth, and her ecosystems? About Iain McGilchrist Dr. Iain McGilchrist is a Quondam Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, an Associate Fellow of Green Templeton College, Oxford, a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and former Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Director at the Bethlem Royal & Maudsley Hospital, London. He has been a Research Fellow in neuroimaging at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore and a Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Studies in Stellenbosch. He has published original articles and research papers in a wide range of publications on topics in literature, philosophy, medicine and psychiatry. He is the author of a number of books, but is best-known for The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World (2009); and his book on neuroscience, epistemology and ontology called The Matter with Things: Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (2021). Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/dogVQDydRGQ More information, and show notes: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/85-iain-mcgilchrist 
8/23/20231 hour, 53 minutes, 49 seconds
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Jean-Marc Jancovici: "Our Global Energy Predicament"

On this episode, Nate is joined by well-known French educator Jean-Marc Jancovici to discuss the critical importance of energy to modern economies. Together, Nate and Jean-Marc break down the fundamentals of our complex, growth dependent global economic system. How much of the stereotypical Western lifestyle is centered around access to cheap, surplus fossil energy? What would it mean for societies to lose this stable, cheap and abundant supply - and how would the people who have become used to it react? Will a shift in society’s institutions and expectations need to be forced upon us in a time of urgent change or is it possible for nations and societies to anticipate declining energy availability - to actively simplify before we are forced to by circumstances? About Jean-Marc Jancovici Jean-Marc Jancovici is a founding partner of Carbone 4, a Paris-based consultancy and data provider specializing in low-carbon transition, biodiversity impacts, and physical risks of climate change (www.carbone4.com). He is the founder and president of The Shift Project, a Paris based think tank advocating for a low-carbon economy (www.theshiftproject.org). Jean-Marc Jancovici is also an associate professor at Mines ParisTech, a member of the French High Council for the Climate, and (co-)author of 8 books and the website jancovici.com on energy and climate change issues. Jean-Marc Jancovici is a graduate from École polytechnique and Télécom ParisTech. Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/-EHCguJp9eQ Show Notes & Links to Learn More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/84-jean-marc-jancovici 
8/16/20231 hour, 27 minutes, 1 second
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Unlearning Economics: Jon Erickson, Josh Farley, Steve Keen, & Kate Raworth | Reality Roundtable #03

On this Reality Roundtable, Nate is joined by Jon Erickson, Josh Farley, Steve Keen, and Kate Raworth - all of whom are leading thinkers and educators in the field of heterodox economics. In this lively discussion, each guest begins by sharing one fundamental aspect of what conventional economics gets wrong and how it could be improved in our education system. What basic assumptions about humans have led to a misunderstanding of the average person’s decision-making? What areas has economics turned a blindspot to as the foundation of our economic systems? Who is finding the models and systems that economists have created useful - and how does economics as a discipline need to change in the face of a lower energy future? In short, what we teach our 18-22 year olds around the world matters - a great deal. About Jon Erickson Jon Erickson is the David Blittersdorf Professor of Sustainability Science & Policy at the University of Vermont. He has published widely on energy and climate change policy, land conservation, watershed planning, environmental public health, and the theory and practice of ecological economics.  He advised presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on economics and energy issues. About Josh Farley Joshua Farley is an ecological economist and Professor in Community Development & Applied Economics and Public Administration at the University of Vermont. He is the President of the International Society for Ecological Economics.  About Steve Keen Steve Keen is an economist, author of Debunking Economics and The New Economics: A Manifesto. He is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Strategy, Resilience, and Security at University College in London. About Kate Raworth Kate Raworth describes herself as a renegade economist focused on making economics fit for 21st century realities. She is the creator of the Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries, and co-founder of Doughnut Economics Action Lab, based on her best-selling book Doughnut Economics: 7 Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist. Kate is a Senior Associate at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute, where she teaches on the Masters in Environmental Change and Management. She is also Professor of Practice at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. She is a member of the Club of Rome and currently serves on the World Health Organisation Council on the Economics of Health for All.  For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/rr03-erickson-farley-raworth-keen  To watch this video episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/EC11UQD9q3w  
8/13/20231 hour, 42 minutes, 18 seconds
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Just Stop Oil !? Part 4 - The Intersection | Frankly #41

In Part 4 of this Frankly mini-series, Nate concludes the deep dive into the nexus between “just stopping oil” and “just pumping oil” with 10 guideposts which might help us to navigate through the intersection of the Four Horsemen of the 2020s and the shrinking Web of Life….together known as The Great Simplification.  From decomplexifying at various scales to a change of consciousness arising from more humans focused on "Inner Tech", there are many ways we as individuals and as a part of the greater society can manage the push and pull of both environment and economic issues while remaining grounded in the reality of energy, technology, behavior, and the economy.   For Show Notes and More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/41-just-stop-oil-part-4-the-intersection   To watch on Youtube: https://youtu.be/_C8rR5OR74Y
8/11/202326 minutes, 5 seconds
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Doomberg: "Our Fragile Energy Economy"

On this episode, Nate is joined by Doomberg - the anonymous energy/finance analyst team (visually presenting as a talking chicken icon) who uses an energy lens to analyze global trends in the economy, with so far some remarkable accuracy. In this wide ranging discussion, Doomberg and Nate cover the interactions between geopolitics, debt, climate policy, and - of course - energy. How have the narratives created around different types of energy - from renewables to nuclear - affected current policy making around the world? Will the increasingly precarious state of the global debt and monetary system shift the geopolitical landscape? How have increasing global tensions combined with a rise in green energy policy affected nations’ desire for energy security - and what does it mean for future policy as we enter a period of decreasing energy availability? About Doomberg In May of 2021, Doomberg was started by a team of professionals experienced in heavy industry, private equity, and the hard sciences to highlight the fundamentals missing from many economic and policy decisions, and it quickly grew to be one of the most widely read finance newsletters on Substack. Doomberg covers topics from energy, finance, to the economy at large, in an attempt to improve society's thinking and clarity to complex problems. Watch on YouTube https://youtu.be/pYkmJOhWtSU Show Notes & More Info https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/83-doomberg 
8/9/20231 hour, 42 minutes, 19 seconds
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Just Stop Oil !? Part 3 - 10 Pathways to Post-Growth | Frankly #40

In Part 3 of this Frankly Series, Nate (just after watching the movie Oppenheimer!) breaks down the logic of how we COULD arrive at a post-growth future. Our global situation is complex and not static - IF we somehow are able to shrink the global economic output (which would imply significantly less oil use) we first have to navigate ‘the 4 Horsemen of the 2020s’. Nate outlines 10 possible avenues for how this could happen, not as a prescription but as a description of various possible scenarios. The implications of the complexity of our global systems means a path to a world without our current dependence on growth will not be an easy one. Yet understanding these hurdles between our current situation and an eventual post-growth future is essential to shifting the initial conditions of such a global transformation towards ‘better-than-the-default’ outcomes. How do impending and converging risks narrow our options for ways to move towards a different global system - and can we manage to protect the things that make life worth living?    Watch on Youtube: https://youtu.be/EhOhfRrvYI0 For Show Notes and More: For Show Notes and more: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/40-just-stop-oil-part-3-10-pathways-to-post-growth
8/4/202328 minutes, 2 seconds
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Kevin Anderson: "The Uncomfortable Link between Climate and Equity"

On this episode, Nate is joined by climate scientist Kevin Anderson to discuss the possible paths of averting severe climate outcomes and how this is interconnected with equity. As nations plan their climate goals and coordinate with each other, it’s clear that extreme actions would be needed from everyone to meet the goal of keeping the global average temperature increase below 2ºC - if this is even possible. At the same time, there are wide disparities in the greenhouse gas emissions between the materially wealthiest and poorest within and across countries. How are past inequities already affecting people in presently climate impacted zones? How can concerned individuals begin incorporating changes and communicating with others in their own lives - and is it even worth it to do so? How can we attempt to balance the equity in standards of living and create rapid reductions in emissions, all while grappling with growing geopolitical tensions, declining energy availability, and the multitude of other converging risks in this impending poly-crisis. About Kevin Anderson: Kevin is professor of Energy and Climate Change at the University of Manchester and visiting professor at the Universities of Uppsala (Sweden) and Bergen (Norway). Formerly he held the position of Zennström professor (in Uppsala) and was director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research (UK). Kevin engages widely with governments, industry and civil society, and remains research active with publications in Climate policy, Nature and Science. He has a decade’s industrial experience in the petrochemical industry, is a chartered engineer and fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/82-kevin-anderson To watch this video episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/aQzdK1uGhWA     
8/2/20231 hour, 28 minutes
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Just Stop Oil !? Part 2 - Oil is the Economy | Frankly #39

In Part 2 of this Frankly Series, Nate breaks down why energy - and specifically oil - is currently the central foundation of our entire modern economic system. There are ecological and energetic laws that apply to all life, including humans and our economies. By accessing a huge surplus of dense carbon energy in the form of fossil sunlight, we’ve effectively turbo-boosted our economies, populations, and material wealth - but what happens if this fossil abundance were to go away? What are the systemic implications of an economy tethered to growth, tethered to carbon? Is it even possible for us to choose to stop using oil? How do these complex constraints on our global systems affect the options - and most likely outcomes - in a future with declining oil availability and rising climate insecurity? For Show Notes and More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/39-just-stop-oil-part-2-oil-is-the-economy To Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/-585aVUNz68
7/28/202331 minutes, 18 seconds
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Roger Pielke Jr: "Understanding the Origins of Climate Models"

On this episode, Nate is joined by climate and policy scientist Roger Pielke Jr. to discuss the progression of climate research and modeling. The climate activist community is based around projections of what a future might look like given the actions of society - an important tool in the push for urgent climate action. Yet, just like with any other model, the assumptions and parameters can greatly shape the outcomes. How has climate science been shaped by previous models and public perception? How did 2Cº come to be our common climate goal post? Are we anticipating the future within the most likely range of possibilities, or are we polarizing ourselves to the extremes of climate denial and climate doom? About Roger Pielke Jr. Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. is a professor at the University of Colorado where he teaches environmental science and policy. A lifetime scholar with many interests, Roger researches and writes on subjects from understanding the politicization of science to decision making under uncertainty to policy education for scientists in areas such as climate change, disaster mitigation, and world trade. His most recent book, The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters and Climate Change takes a deeper look at the IPCC and climate science and how it is being interpreted in the media. Roger also oversees a popular Substack - The Honest Broker - where he is experimenting with a new approach to research, writing and public engagement. Roger holds degrees in mathematics, public policy and political science, all from the University of Colorado Boulder. For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/81-roger-pielke To watch this video episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/T6Nx4SYZIvQ
7/26/20231 hour, 18 minutes, 21 seconds
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The 7 Things That Scare Me Most | Frankly #38

In this week’s Frankly, Nate expands upon something he finds himself saying more frequently these days; ”what scares me the most is…”.  From the likelihood of nuclear war to how our human in/action harms innocent animals, Nate opens up about his personal list of deepest fears. Contrasting his childhood fear of [harmless] spiders against his current fear of humans’ propensity towards [what is now existential] apathy as we face the metacrisis, Nate reminds us how much more complex our lives are in 2023. Can we be courageous and face our own fears head on, rather than feeling paralyzed by them?  Watch on Youtube:   
7/21/202312 minutes, 52 seconds
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Taimur Ahmad: "Energy Inequality in the Polycrisis"

On this episode, Nate is joined by recent Stanford graduate and biophysical researcher Taimur Ahmad to discuss energy inequality within and across nations. Taimur offers a unique perspective as someone who has spent years studying the issues of the polycrisis, while also having experience growing up in Pakistan and living in the United States. How does the culture of a nation and its access to energy interrelate to create huge differences in the daily lives of the people who live there? How do the looming implications of climate change and energy depletion impact the relationship between the Global North and the Global South? And how do issues of class, wealth, and ‘fictitious capital’ interplay with the larger poly-crisis at hand? About Taimur Ahmad Taimur Ahmad is the author of the Fictitious Capital newsletter where he writes about understanding the base layer of the global system: money/finance, energy, and raw materials. He studied economics at Georgetown University in Qatar and recently completed a graduate degree from Stanford University where he focused on energy policy and electricity markets. After working in agricultural development in Pakistan, he worked in the Middle East supporting clients across energy, CP&I, and national development. From these experiences, he realized the importance of reframing contemporary socioeconomic issues in an energy and ecological systems framework. His work is now focused on exploring the intersection of development in the Global South, degrowth/post-growth, MMT, and leftist social theory. To watch this video episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/4hzDKA0aNJk For show notes, and more information: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/80-taimur-ahmad 
7/19/20231 hour, 13 minutes, 10 seconds
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Just Stop Oil !? Part 1 - Gasoline | Frankly #37

In this must watch Frankly, Nate illustrates how a reduction in the demand for gasoline will not - as commonly believed  - result in a 1:1 reduction in the demand for oil. This is contrary to a widespread perception, which much growth in the Electric Vehicle industry has been based on, about the correlation between a decline in gasoline usage resulting in an overall decline in oil production and CO2 emissions. While a significant portion of oil refining results in gasoline, we need to be aware of modern civilization's deep dependencies on the remaining products that all come from the same barrel of oil. Only then can we understand and plan for feasible pathways to reducing oil production and consumption within the confines of a growth-dependent complex adaptive system. How can movements such as Just Stop Oil better reflect the reality of the current oil production system and our economy?    Stay tuned next week when Nate shares 7 potential paths to a less oil-dependent future.   A special thank you to Joris van der Schot, John Rowan, Robert Rapier, and Art Berman for helpful input on this video.   To Watch on Youtube: https://youtu.be/H-zYjcsLE_E   For Show Notes and More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/37-just-stop-oil-part-1-gasoline
7/14/20239 minutes, 7 seconds
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Anne Biklé & David Montgomery: "Nourishing the Land and Ourselves"

On this episode, Nate is joined by “free range biologist” Anne Biklé and “broad-minded geologist” David Montgomery - a married duo who have been educating about the link between soil and human health for nearly a decade. As we continue to strip the land and soil of its life supporting capacity, our food has become less nutritious, even as we’ve received more calories. Has the age of ‘The Green Revolution’ - accredited with preventing millions from famine - led us to a new epidemic of starvation in the form of micronutrients? How do our modern systems degrade the land, leaving us with lifeless dirt even more dependent on fossil inputs? Can we implement better agricultural practices that lead to lively and fertile soils, better health, and a reconnection with the land that feeds us? About Anne Biklé & David R. Montgomery Anne Biklé is a science writer and public speaker drawing on her background in biology and environmental planning to explore humanity’s tangled relationship with nature through the lens of agriculture, soil, and food. She is particularly enthralled with the botanical world and its influence on humanity throughout history. Her writing has appeared in digital and print magazines, newspapers, and her work has been featured in radio and independent documentary films. David R. Montgomery is a MacArthur Fellow and professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington. He is an internationally recognized geologist who studies the effects of geological processes on ecological systems and human societies. He is the author of several textbooks in his field and his work has been featured in documentary films, network and cable news, TV, and radio. Anne and David are married and live in Seattle, WA. In 2023, they published What Your Food Ate: How to Heal Our Land and Reclaim Our Health, which builds on their trilogy of books about soil health, microbiomes, and farming—Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations, The Hidden Half of Nature, and Growing a Revolution. Social Media & Contact for David and Anne web: www.Dig2Grow.com || twitter: @Dig2Grow || email: [email protected] For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/79-anne-bikl-david-montgomery
7/12/20231 hour, 35 minutes, 48 seconds
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Deep(er) Ecology: William Rees, Nora Bateson & Rex Weyler | Reality Roundtable #02

On this segment of Reality Roundtable, Nate is joined by William Rees, Nora Bateson, and Rex Weyler to discuss the purpose of ecology and what it might look like to have a civilization centered around it. Despite our tendency to think of ourselves as separate from the biosphere, humans are a part of it, just like any other animal. What sets us apart now is our outsized impact on the world around us, as we and our societies take up more space and resources, degrading the ecosystems that support ourselves, our descendants, and other species. How can an understanding of systems and relationships help us rethink how we interact with the planet? Could ecologically literate governments and citizens create wider boundaries across time and space in which decisions are made? What might the parameters be for a civilization centered around ecology, and how can we navigate there through declining energy and resource availability? Most of all, how can we as individuals and communities root ourselves into a deep(er) ecological knowledge and way of being?  About Nora Bateson Nora Bateson is an award-winning filmmaker, writer and educator, as well as President of the International Bateson Institute, based in Sweden. Her work asks the question “How can we  improve our perception of the complexity we live within, so we may improve our interaction with the world?”.  An international lecturer, researcher and writer, Nora wrote, directed and produced the award-winning documentary, An Ecology of Mind, a portrait of her father, Gregory Bateson. Her work brings the fields of biology, cognition, art, anthropology, psychology, and information technology together into a study of the patterns in ecology of living systems. Her book, Small Arcs of Larger Circles, released by Triarchy Press, UK, 2016 is a revolutionary personal approach to the study of systems and complexity. About William Rees William Rees is a population ecologist, ecological economist, Professor Emeritus and former Director of the University of British Columbia’s School of Community and Regional Planning in Vancouver, Canada. He researches the implications of global ecological trends for the longevity of civilization, with special focus on urban (un)sustainability and cultural/cognitive barriers to rational public policy. Prof Rees is best known as the originator and co-developer with Dr Mathis Wackernagel of ‘ecological footprint analysis’ (EFA), a quantitative tool that estimates human demands on ecosystems and the extent to which humanity is in ‘ecological overshoot.’ Dr Rees is a founding member and former President of the Canadian Society for Ecological Economics; a founding Director of the OneEarth Living Initiative; a Fellow of the Post-Carbon Institute and an Associate Fellow of the Great Transition Initiative. About Rex Weyler Rex Weyler is a writer and ecologist. His books include Blood of the Land; the Government and Corporate War Against First Nations, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; Greenpeace: The Inside Story, a finalist for the BC Book Award and the Shaughnessy-Cohen Award for Political Writing; and The Jesus Sayings, a deconstruction of first century history, a finalist for the BC Book Award.  In the 1970s, Weyler was a cofounder of Greenpeace International and editor of the Greenpeace Chronicles. He served on campaigns to preserve rivers and forests and to stop whaling, sealing, and toxic dumping.  He currently posts the “Deep Green” column at the Greenpeace International website. He lives on Cortes Island in British Columbia, with his wife, artist Lisa Gibbons. Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/GE39xfNRRyw For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/rr02-bateson-rees-weyler 
7/9/20231 hour, 32 minutes, 40 seconds
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Cool Privilege | Frankly #36

On this steamy Frankly, Nate shares how his broken office air conditioner reminds him of the discomforts and dangers being faced by those living in high heat regions - including the heat dome over the Southern U.S and growing ‘wet bulb temperature’ areas around the world. Air conditioners are a modern luxury not afforded to most humans - and those that do use them are in turn part of a positive feedback loop to stay cooler while consuming more fossil energy. And yet as the climate gets hotter and hotter, climate control may shift from a luxury to a necessity for many people to even survive in parts of Earth’s habitat. Can those of us with access to AC - at least as a first step - become more aware of the energy privileges we have? How will we respond in a future with less access to climate control and increasing periods of extreme heat?   To watch on Youtube: https://youtu.be/UWyoPzTpJtA   For Show Notes and More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/36-cool-privilege  
7/7/20236 minutes, 18 seconds
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Iñigo Capellán Pérez: "Net Energy Analysis: Through a Systems Lens"

On this episode, global systems researcher Iñigo Capellán Pérez joins Nate to discuss net energy analysis, and its use as a tool in analyzing the feasibility of an entire system. While net energy analysis is complex and polarized, some form of it will be necessary to guide society into a resource-constrained future. The energy outlook of a technology changes when scaled up to meet the needs of a larger society.  Many models and EROI analyses that fail to take a system-wide view and only look at a single technology use case, only reflect the partial net energy story. When looking at the huge scale-up needed for ‘solutions’ such as Green Growth and Net Zero Transitions, do the hopes for renewable technologies hold up the lifestyles we’ve come to expect over the last century of fossil surplus? Do our policymakers and leaders have the full picture to make competent decisions? How can we best use these tools to make creative responses to guide us through a Great Simplification? About Iñigo Capellán Pérez: Iñigo is an Industrial Engineer currently doing research with The Group of Energy, Economy and Systems Dynamics (GEEDS) of the University of Valladolid. He holds a Master degree in Electric Energy and Sustainable Development and a PhD in Economics with his dissertation on "Development and Application of Environmental Integrated Assessment Modelling towards Sustainability" at the University of the Basque Country. His research interests focus on the analysis and modeling of the energy-economy-environment systems, the transition to renewable energies in the context of the depletion of fossil fuels and climate mitigation and the technical and social transformations towards sustainability. For Show Notes and More visit:  https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/78-iigo-capelln-prez To watch this video episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/m9VFYTXSwNw
7/5/20231 hour, 6 minutes, 12 seconds
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10 Things That Bring Me Joy | Frankly #35

On this very personal Frankly, Nate speaks from the heart about ten things which bring him joy and, despite the accelerating polycrisis, will likely still be available to us even without abundant cheap energy. This message - really - is at the heart of the Great Simplification story.  Distinct from intermittent and shallow hits of dopamine from social media “Likes” or shopping or stock investing - joy is a deep, soul-enriching emotion.  Can we shift from wearing an economic lens which fears financial loss to opening our hearts and minds to what truly brings us joy? Can we learn - today - to appreciate the joy from the natural world around us, communing with other humans and animals, discovering beauty or sharing knowledge, as we travel through the Great Simplification?     For Show Notes and More:   Watch on Youtube: https://youtu.be/GjpL1OoSi6o
6/30/202318 minutes, 38 seconds
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Kate Raworth: "The Superorganism V. The Doughnut"

On this episode, Nate is joined by the creator of Doughnut Economics, Kate Raworth, to discuss alternative economies that measure more than just the material wealth created by a society. As we expand further past planetary boundaries, the gap between the standard of living of the materially wealthiest and poorest continues to grow. Increasingly, these shortfalls in both ecological and social well-being of the current economic system are becoming more recognized by the general populace.  Can we create systems that keep people from falling down the cracks, while also respecting the limits of our planetary home? Are there governments and businesses already aligning themselves to these principles and shifting to a different way of leading? Could moving towards a holistic system, such as Doughnut Economics, be enough to overcome the energy hungry growth of a global Superorganism? About Kate Raworth: Kate Raworth describes herself as a renegade economist focused on making economics fit for 21st century realities. She is the creator of the Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries, and co-founder of Doughnut Economics Action Lab, based on her best-selling book Doughnut Economics: 7 Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist. Kate is a Senior Associate at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute, where she teaches on the Masters in Environmental Change and Management. She is also Professor of Practice at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. She is a member of the Club of Rome and currently serves on the World Health Organisation Council on the Economics of Health for All. For Show Notes and More visit:  https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/77-kate-raworth To watch this video episode on Youtube → https://youtu.be/vBSvN3Ntal4 
6/28/20231 hour, 42 minutes, 45 seconds
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The Limits to Podcasting About Limits

On this Frankly, Nate shares a personal reflection on the challenges of creating and broadcasting content focused on biophysical limits to growth.  In a media industry that promotes feel-good content, over-simplified narratives and easy answers, the themes being highlighted on The Great Simplification can be complex, overwhelming, and leave more questions than answers. What should the goals be for these types of content creators? What are the pitfalls? How do the conventional social media rules apply to media that is so outside the norm? Most importantly, what is the best way to maintain credible, helpful, widely accessible, and factual information that can help steer society towards a gentler landing into The Great Simplification? For Show Notes and More: To Watch on Youtube: https://youtu.be/nO9yHWIB_V0
6/23/202320 minutes, 17 seconds
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Daniel Zetah: "Regenerative Agriculture and Personal Sovereignty”

On this episode, Nate is joined by Daniel Zetah, who practices regenerative agriculture on his family farm in Minnesota. Daniel shares his experiences in becoming aware of the global challenges we face and his journey back to his family farm, where he has been instrumental in naturally cultivating the land back to life again. While much of The Great Simplification covers the intricacies of the metacrisis we face, Daniel brings the perspective of someone who has stepped outside of the system and into what he calls ‘personal sovereignty’. What are the time, energy, and labor requirements of being in tune with the land in this way? Where do animals - especially cows - fit into this story? Can deep, healthy topsoil be sexy? Is Daniel creating a blueprint for what many more happy, fulfilling lives could look like in a simplified future?  About Daniel Zetah: Daniel grew up on a farm in Minnesota where he learned to fix all manner of things driven from an insatiable curiosity about how things worked. He studied economics and business at university and lived abroad for 15 years where he bought and sold classic cars, worked as a snake relocator and scatologist, and the chemical spraying auditor for Tasmania. After waking to our planetary predicament, he became a full time environmental activist, then moved to an off grid community in the mountains where he studied permaculture and built straw bale houses. He moved back to America to help steer culture in a more sane direction, where he realized as long as the majority of people are incapable of meeting most of their fundamental human needs, even committed activists are feeding the dragon they’re trying to slay. He and his wife Stephanie moved back to the family farm in Minnesota where they are growing 80% of their calories, rebuilding the local ecology, and educating and empowering people to wrest back control of their sovereignty as human beings.  Daniel and Stephanie’s Farm - www.newstoryfarm.com For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/76-daniel-zetah  To watch this video episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/PtW_Fh9fViw   
6/21/20231 hour, 31 minutes, 7 seconds
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Kris De Decker: "Looking Back Towards a Human Powered Future"

On this episode, Nate welcomes back journalist, inventor, and low-tech expert Kris De Decker to take a deeper dive into a more human-powered system on the backside of the carbon pulse. Through both historical and experiential lenses, Kris shares five creative alternatives to current high tech systems - from hot water bottles to electric buses and preventative-focused healthcare systems. Could a move towards communal services and human-power also shift our mindsets to think twice about how much energy is actually needed to thrive and still be comfortable? Will society willingly move from a resource intensive growth economy towards a lower energy, human powered economy?  About Kris De Decker: Kris De Decker shifted from a journalism career covering high tech to exploring low tech through formal and personal research and projects, including the Human Power Plant and the Solar Powered Website.   De Decker is creator and author of Low Tech Magazine and No Tech Magazine, publications which explore low tech solutions to questions society assumes must be solved through high tech.   De Decker has contributed articles about science, technology, energy and the environment to Mother Earth News, Techniques et Culture, Design Magazine, The Oil Drum, Resilience, EOS, Molenecho's, "Knack", "De Tijd" and "De Standaard".  De Decker’s books "Energie in 2030" advised the Dutch government on challenges related to science and technology and his book "Stralingswarmte: gezonde warmte met minder energie" provided a guide for how heat works.    For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/75-kris-de-decker  To watch this video episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/4MYqRvm7vX4
6/14/20231 hour, 23 minutes, 47 seconds
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"Electric Vehicles": Arthur Berman, Simon Michaux & Pedro Prieto | Reality Roundtable #01

On this inaugural episode of Reality Roundtable, Nate is joined by Art Berman, Simon Michaux, and Pedro Prieto to discuss the viability of scaling electric vehicles and what role they could play in the future. Electric vehicles have become increasingly more popular in recent years, and in tandem more polarizing and controversial. Art, Simon, Pedro, and Nate join together for a multi-faceted conversation jam packed with expertise and insight about the reality of EVs. Are plans for dramatically increasing the production of electric vehicles as a replacement for internal combustion vehicles materially, economically, or even infrastructurally possible? Are current EV initiatives taking a science-based systems approach towards this massive economic, environmental, and cultural shift or are they rooted in energy blindness? About Arthur Berman: Arthur E. Berman is a petroleum geologist with 36 years of oil and gas industry experience. He is an expert on U.S. shale plays and is currently consulting for several E&P companies and capital groups in the energy sector. About Pedro Prieto: Pedro is the vice president of the Asociación para el Estudio de los Recursos Energéticos (AEREN). AEREN is an open space for debate and communications on energy issues and their role in demography, development, economy and ecology. Pedro was a member of the board at ASPO International with AEREN representing ASPO in Spain. Since 2004, Pedro has led several solar photovoltaic projects in Spain, a leading world country in solar PV penetration. Pedro co-authored Spain's Photovoltaic Revolution. The Energy Return on Investment, that challenged the conventional energy boundaries considered up to the moment for calculations. About Simon Michaux: Dr. Simon Michaux is an Associate Professor of Geometallurgy at the Geological Survey of Finland. He has a PhD in mining engineering. Dr. Michaux’s long-term work is on societal transformation toward a circular economy. For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/rr01-berman-michaux-prieto  To watch this video episode on YouTube → https://youtu.be/5stPFdegJpg
6/11/20231 hour, 40 minutes, 19 seconds
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NATO/Ukraine: Playing Russian Roulette with Complex Life | Frankly #33

Recorded June 2nd, 2023   Description   On this Frankly, Nate unpacks his thoughts on the escalating situation between Russia and Ukraine. US and NATO have been cautiously supporting Ukraine, but increasingly crossing more and more lines that had been previously ‘out of bounds’. With the upcoming Defender 23 military exercise on June 12th, NATO is increasingly pushing the boundary of how far it is willing to engage in this conflict. How is the current narrative being put forth by the US Government and media obscuring the public concern towards the risks of World War III and nuclear exchange? How high is the risk of a nuclear first strike - and what are the chances of further escalation after that? What would this mean for humans and the biosphere? In the larger picture of the existence of complex life on Earth, does it really matter who is right?    For Show Notes and More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/33-nato/ukraine-playing-russian-roulette-with-complex-life   To Watch on Youtube: https://youtu.be/cqgNltPFY5s
6/8/20230
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James Fleay: "What's The Deal with Nuclear Energy?"

On this episode energy systems expert James Fleay joins Nate to talk about the current state of nuclear energy and its potential applications in the future. Out of all the potential ‘replacements’ for the subsidy of the fossil labor force we’ve grown used to, nuclear energy is one of the most frequently suggested as being the savior of our modern lifestyles. What is the reality of the benefits and costs of nuclear energy? How does it fit into our current mix and our financial situation? Does it have the ability to support ‘human flourishing’ for millenia to come? Will the expansion of it result in a toxic waste situation that we can’t come back from? Or is nuclear energy simply one more piece to the puzzle for complex societies to support - and eventually reduce - their energy demands?  About James Fleay: James Fleay is an Australian engineer and energy project manager with two decades of experience in design, delivery, operation, and carbon sequestration in the power, oil, and natural gas sectors. Ten years ago, he joined the oil and gas sector to work on the design, delivery and operation of some of Australia’s largest complex energy (LNG) projects. This included 2 years work on one of the largest carbon capture and sequestration projects in the world and another 3 years on a ground-breaking deep-water subsea compression gas project in Australia’s North West. He is the founder and manager of DUNE, Down Under Nuclear Energy, with the purpose of studying the investment case for nuclear energy in Australia and understanding the parameters for its success. For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/74-james-fleay  To watch this video episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/QCogtFKP2TY
6/7/20231 hour, 7 minutes, 30 seconds
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Joslin Faith Kehdy: "Lebanon - Beyond Resilience"

On this episode, Nate is joined by Joslin Faith Kehdy, a changemaker and citizen of Lebanon. Over the last 3 years, Lebanon has had a 50% drop in GDP and 98% devaluation in their currency, massive unemployment, and - among many other things - an ongoing waste crisis. Throughout this, Joslin has been a leader in responding to and coming up with new (and old) ways for living a dignified and simplified life. Joslin is an environmentalist currently living ‘The Great Simplification’ - she offers a valuable perspective on what ‘sustainable’ living really means and insights for what may come to the rest of the world.  About Joslin Faith Kehdy: Joslin Faith Kehdy is the Founder and Director of Recycle Lebanon, whose goal is to make a circular system change to “re-psyc’le” our mindset towards action. Since 2015, Recycle Lebanon  has been organizing projects focusing on reducing plastic usage and pollution in Lebanon, while building initiatives to expand nature based consumption & production alternatives. A hands-on unlearner with a devotion for land & water stewardship, Joslin lives off-grid, homesteading in the rural village of Baskinta, Lebanon. Joslin’s organization, Recycle Lebanon, is fundraising for their newest initiative: TerraPods. If you’d like to learn more or support this project please visit: Sustain Lebanon - TerraPods For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/73-joslin-faith-kehdy To watch this video episode on Youtube → https://youtu.be/S1iAa9kP80Q
5/31/20231 hour, 11 minutes, 31 seconds
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Alex Gladstein: "Debt Colonialism, The Petrodollar, and Bitcoin"

On this episode, Alex Gladstein of the Human Rights Foundation joins Nate to unpack how monetary policy and debt have increasingly extended the reach of colonial powers over recent decades and how bitcoin offers an alternative to the many people who are under this financial exclusion. How have the IMF and World Bank upheld the power of reserve currency countries in the Global North to exploit and extract resources and labor from the Global South under the guise of aid and development? What is the origin of the ‘petrodollar’ and how has it shaped geopolitical relationships since its creation? What exactly is Bitcoin and how does it provide economic and political freedom? Is Bitcoin compatible with a low energy future? About Alex Gladstein: Alex Gladstein is Chief Strategy Officer at the Human Rights Foundation. He has also served as Vice President of Strategy for the Oslo Freedom Forum since its inception in 2009. In his work, Alex has connected hundreds of dissidents and civil society groups with business leaders, technologists, journalists, philanthropists, policymakers, and artists to promote free and open societies. He serves as faculty at Singularity University and as an advisor to Blockchain Capital, a leading venture firm in the fintech industry. He frequently speaks and writes about why Bitcoin matters for freedom, and is the author of Check Your Financial Privilege. His new book, Hidden Repression: How the IMF and World Bank Market Exploitation as Development was just published in May 2023. For Show Notes and More visit: http://thegreatsimplification.com/episode/72-alex-gladstein To watch this video episode on Youtube → https://youtu.be/u84tyIokAY8   
5/24/20232 hours, 27 minutes, 16 seconds
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Reflections on 'Beyond Growth' | Frankly #31

On this Frankly, Nate reflects on the Beyond Growth Conference held at the European Parliament, including the stunning public acknowledgement by EU President that a growth model based on fossil fuels is now obsolete. In the context of this growing and relevant conversation, Nate unpacks what the degrowth movement is getting right, but also what is missing from the conversation. Is it possible to purposely navigate from our current system to one with lower energy and material wealth? How does a large and growing global debt overhang impact this possibility? Is a transfer of wealth between nations feasible or even desirable based on realistic outcomes? In any case, as to the inevitability of a post-growth world, the degrowth conversation needs to be expanded.  It’s the primary movement mapping out what a desirable destination might look like as we move through a Great Simplification.   Watch on Youtube: https://youtu.be/JYbIsXoBg70 For Show Notes and More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/31-reflections-on-beyond-growth
5/19/202310 minutes, 10 seconds
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Daniel Schmachtenberger: "Artificial Intelligence and The Superorganism"

On this episode, Daniel Schmachtenberger returns to discuss a surprisingly overlooked risk to our global systems and planetary stability: artificial intelligence. Through a systems perspective, Daniel and Nate piece together the biophysical history that has led humans to this point, heading towards (and beyond) numerous planetary boundaries and facing geopolitical risks all with existential consequences. How does artificial intelligence, not only add to these risks, but accelerate the entire dynamic of the metacrisis? What is the role of intelligence vs wisdom on our current global pathway, and can we change course? Does artificial intelligence have a role to play in creating a more stable system or will it be the tipping point that drives our current one out of control?  About Daniel Schmachtenberger: Daniel Schmachtenberger is a founding member of The Consilience Project, aimed at improving public sensemaking and dialogue.  The throughline of his interests has to do with ways of improving the health and development of individuals and society, with a virtuous relationship between the two as a goal. Towards these ends, he’s had particular interest in the topics of catastrophic and existential risk, civilization and institutional decay and collapse as well as progress, collective action problems, social organization theories, and the relevant domains in philosophy and science. For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/71-daniel-schmachtenberger  To watch this video episode on Youtube: https://youtu.be/_P8PLHvZygo
5/17/20233 hours, 12 minutes, 47 seconds
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Missing Words | Frankly #30

Last Friday we released Nate's annual Earth Day presentation for 2023: a reflection on ~3 dozen common English words which are semantically disconnected from what they really mean - paired alongside more biophysically accurate terms. Building on that theme, this week’s Frankly is a thought experiment of which ecological and systems concepts do not exist in the English language - but perhaps should. All of this is to say, the semantics and connotations of our language are extremely powerful and have direct impacts on the way we think and act. Could shaping our speech to be more accurate, empathetic, and comprehensive cause our aggregate actions to do the same? For Show notes and more:  Youtube Link here
5/12/202314 minutes, 21 seconds
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John Kitzhaber: "What Makes a Healthy Society?"

On this episode, former Governor of Oregon and ER Doctor John Kitzhaber joins Nate to discuss the shortcomings of the medical system in the United States. With health outcomes below average compared to other developed nations and healthcare spending at nearly 20% of GDP, creating medical systems that are less costly while also keeping people healthier is critical to the well-being of the country and its citizens. Dr. Kitzhaber’s hands-on experience working in medicine and systemic perspective as a policymaker gives him a unique perspective on healthcare resource allocation, the effectiveness of medicine, and the real world effects of how we incentivize medical care. Can we extend our time horizons by making long-term investments in the most effective preventative care? How do we take care of more people with fewer resources available? Most of all, can we come together to think critically about how we can create a system that prioritizes holistic health, based in community and accessible to everyone? About John Kitzhaber John Kitzhaber has more than 40 years of experience in health care and health policy in both public and private sectors. He practiced as an emergency room physician for 15 years; served 14 years in the Oregon Legislature, and served three terms as Governor of the State of Oregon. Kitzhaber is the author of the groundbreaking Oregon Health Plan, through which hundreds of thousands of low- and moderate-income Oregon families gain access to health care. During his third term as Governor, Kitzhaber was the chief architect of Oregon’s Coordinated Care Organizations, the first effort in the country created on a statewide basis to meet the Triple Aim—better health, better quality, lower cost—with a focus on community and population health. To watch this video episode on Youtube: https://youtu.be/Z4cjl77rj78  Show Notes & Links to Learn More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/70-john-kitzhaber 
5/10/202350 minutes, 15 seconds
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The Words of Our Lives | Earth Day 2023

For this year’s Earth Day presentation, I highlight common terms in the English language - the meanings of which we've come to take for granted. These words semantically imbue our understanding, perspective, and even behavior but have become untethered from the systemic reality they attempt to describe. Words have power. What we call things and how we describe things matters.   This presentation is recommended to be viewed on Youtube with the accompanying visuals, but can still be listened to and understood in audio-only form.    Thanks to my team - Leslie Batt-Lutz, Lizzy Sirianni, Luke Robert Mason, and Jason Figueredo for putting this together. Also thanks (as always) to my friend DJ White for helpful input. Thanks to Joan Diamond, Kyle Saunders, Maia Nillson, Rex Weyler for helpful input. 
5/8/202340 minutes, 19 seconds
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Robert Lustig: "Processed Food, Metabolism, and The Ills of Society"

In this episode, Dr. Robert Lustig joins Nate to dive into the metabolism of the micro level of human systems - the humans ourselves. Over the last century, accompanying the transformation of our energy systems, our food and consumption patterns have been massively transformed. One of the biggest areas of change is the dramatic increase in sugar consumption. But are our bodies adapted to eating such high sugar, processed foods? What are the health effects connected to this way of eating? And, writ large, how does our metabolic dysfunction as individuals contribute to the energy hungry global Superorganism? What are the systemic drivers that currently prevent a shift towards healthier food systems? Can changing how we eat make us healthier - and thus better equipped to face the complex challenges of the metacrisis? About Robert Lustig: Robert H. Lustig, M.D., M.S.L. is Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, and Member of the Institute for Health Policy Studies at UCSF. Dr. Lustig is a neuroendocrinologist, with expertise in metabolism, obesity, and nutrition. He is one of the leaders of the current “anti-sugar” movement that is changing the food industry. He has dedicated his retirement from clinical medicine to help to fix the food supply any way he can, to reduce human suffering and to salvage the environment. Dr. Lustig graduated from MIT in 1976, and received his M.D. from Cornell University Medical College in 1980. He also received his Masters of Studies in Law (MSL) degree at University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 2013. He is the author of the popular books Fat Chance (2012), The Hacking of the American Mind (2017), and Metabolical: The Lure and the Lies of Processed Food, Nutrition, and Modern Medicine (2021). For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/69-robert-lustig  To watch this video episode on Youtube → https://youtu.be/onVqjZOYlQs
5/3/20231 hour, 27 minutes, 32 seconds
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Simon Michaux: "The Arcadian Blueprint"

In this episode, Simon Michaux returns to discuss his new paper “A Resource Balanced Economy”, which outlines an alternative economic and social system. This conversation builds off of his two previous episodes on The Great Simplification, unpacking the ideas and tools that will be helpful in planning for an unknown future with more energy and material constraints. How can we be more intentional about the design of our technology to make products that are longer lasting and easier to reuse? How can we organize society to create resilient communities based around actual human needs, rather than endless efficiency geared towards growth? Can an ‘Arcadian Blueprint’ emerge, and at what scale, and by whom? About Simon Michaux: Dr. Simon Michaux is an Associate Professor of Geometallurgy at the Geological Survey of Finland. He has a PhD in mining engineering. Dr. Michaux’s long-term work is on societal transformation toward a circular economy. For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/68-simon-michaux To watch this video episode on Youtube →  https://youtu.be/bb801wdRULM
4/26/20231 hour, 15 minutes, 22 seconds
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Edward Chancellor: "The Price of Time"

On this episode, financial historian Edward Chancellor joins Nate to give a meta-history of interest rates and human societies. With recent news of global financial turmoil in response to rising interest rates, taking a look at our history could help us interpret our present and plan for the future. How deeply entangled is this financial predicament that we’ve gotten ourselves into? Can we learn from the past to reshape a more stable monetary policy in the future, or are inflating financial bubbles (and popping them) simply in our human nature? About Edward Chancellor: Edward Chancellor is a financial historian, journalist, and investment strategist. He is the author of Devil Take Hindmost: A History of Financial Speculation and his latest book, The Price of Time, where he explains the story of capitalism is really the story of interest: the price that individuals, companies and nations pay to borrow money. He is currently a columnist for Reuters Breakingviews and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, MoneyWeek, the New York Review of Books and Financial Times.  For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/67-edward-chancellor To watch this video episode on Youtube → https://youtu.be/q5PWaYw6h5k
4/19/20231 hour, 45 minutes, 7 seconds
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Reality, Probability, and Perception | Frankly #29

Recorded April 10, 2023   Description  In this Frankly, Nate explains how he views the future from a probability perspective - a tool frequently used in industries such as finance, retirement planning, and by e.g. gamblers. While there will be only one eventual outcome, the possible paths to that future fall in a distribution, with some results much more likely than others. We can shift these results with our actions in the present. However, no one person can know this distribution perfectly, only the distribution shaped by their own bias, knowledge, and perspective. How might we use a probabilistic approach to better understand what’s possible - and even to better relate to others? By thinking of the future as a spectrum, can we avoid falling into traps of certainty and complacency that inevitably lead to inaction? While there are some outcomes that are impossible, there are still many within our power to steer towards during a Simplification.   To watch on Youtube: https://youtu.be/uWn2svl6aBU For Show Notes and More:
4/14/202322 minutes, 39 seconds
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Kim Stanley Robinson: "Climate, Fiction, and The Future"

On this episode, Nate is joined by climate science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson to discuss how he contributes to the discussion of climate and pro-social changemaking through writing. There have been many calls to improve the communication of scientists to the general public in hopes it will help people understand the severity of the various global threats we face. A key component to such communication comes from art and literature. Even further, the humanities help us think about the type of future and culture we want to have given the information that science brings us. How can we incorporate fiction into our set of tools to bring more people into awareness of the pressing systemic dynamics underpinning global events? About Kim Stanley Robinson: Kim Stanley Robinson is an American science fiction writer. He is the author of over twenty books, including the internationally bestselling Mars trilogy, and more recently Red Moon, New York 2140, and The Ministry for the Future. He was part of the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Artists and Writers’ Program in 1995 and 2016, and a featured speaker at COP-26 in Glasgow, as a guest of the UK government and the UN. His work has been translated into 28 languages, and won awards including the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards. In 2016 asteroid 72432 was named “Kimrobinson.” To watch this video episode on Youtube: https://youtu.be/Xc53KPv7flk  Show Notes & Links to Learn More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/66-kim-stanley-robinson
4/12/20231 hour, 24 minutes, 31 seconds
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The Real Global Macro | Frankly #28

Recorded April 4, 2023   Description   In this Frankly, Nate shares his early Wall Street experience of ‘squawkboxes’ summarizing the daily financial Global Macro events and compares it to present day, where we find ourselves faced with the real Global Macro news - the systemic nexus of economic, environmental, and geopolitical risks and realities. From sea surface temperatures at all-time recorded highs, to the threat of nuclear war, to failing nation-states - how does a single person make sense of and cope with a 24 hour news flow reporting our increasingly chaotic world? Our cultural challenges are now far greater than stock markets and currency movements. We need people paying attention, understanding, and engaging with the ‘real’ Global Macro. Youtube Link here For Show Notes and More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/28-the-real-global-macro
4/6/202312 minutes, 55 seconds
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Antonio Turiel: "Deep Challenges: Oceans, Scarcity and Culture"

On this episode, physicist Antonio Turiel joins me for a wide-ranging discussion from oceans and climate to energy and culture. Oceans are one of the most important factors regulating the Earth’s climate, and yet they receive relatively little attention from the climate community. There are numerous critical risk factors to unpack regarding just the oceans alone - and still so much that we don’t know. This conversation also delves into the complexity of an economic system requiring continuous growth itself embedded in an Earth system that is already hitting its limits. What are the boundaries of our energy systems and what options do we have - and not have - for the future? Is the root of the critical issue we’re facing - not a technical problem - but a cultural problem? About Antonio Turiel: Antonio Turiel Martínez is a scientist and activist with a degree in Physics and Mathematics and a PhD in Theoretical Physics from the Autonomous University of Madrid. He works as a senior scientist at the Institute of Marine Sciences of the CSIC specializing in remote sensing, turbulence, sea surface salinity, water cycle, sea surface temperature, sea surface currents, and chlorophyll concentration. He has written more than 80 scientific articles, but he is better known as an online activist and editor of The Oil Crash blog, where he addresses sensitive issues about the depletion of conventional fossil fuel resources, such as the peak of oil and its possible implications on a world scale. To watch this video episode on Youtube → https://youtu.be/n1fIkS4y798 Show Notes & Links to Learn More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/65-antonio-turiel
4/5/20231 hour, 42 minutes, 12 seconds
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USA! (But wait, There’s More) | Frankly #27

Recorded March 29, 2023   Description   In this Frankly, Nate reflects on the varying perspectives from which people perceive the meta-crisis relative to their own circumstances. This extends to the countries we live in and the particular economic/social situations we are part of. But each of these is part of a wider systems lens that we should at least keep in mind and respect - even if it doesn’t feel like our central cause. The challenging times ahead will have huge implications for the social progress of the last few centuries on local, national, and international levels. There will never be one solution to such grand scale problems. As we work on responding to these challenges, keeping in mind the scope and complexity of these issues might allow us to approach them from a place of empathy and compassion.   For Show Notes and More: 
3/31/20238 minutes, 41 seconds
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Andrew Millison: "Geomorphology, Permaculture, and The Good Work"

On this episode, permaculture expert and educator Andrew Millison joins us to unpack how we can better design our societal infrastructure and agriculture to be more attuned with the water, solar, and “geomorphic” conditions of our surroundings. When critical resources become scarce, it is more important than ever that communities learn to do more with less. By focusing on resiliency and stability through systems thinking, permaculture is a design system which does just that. In a world that often feels beyond our control, how can we use permaculture design to work with the land rather than against it, and regain agency in our local food, water, and social systems? About Andrew Millison: Andrew Millison is an innovative educator, storyteller and designer. He founded the Permaculture Design education program at Oregon State University (OSU) in 2009. At OSU Andrew serves as an Education Director and Senior Instructor who offers over 25 years of experience, and a playful approach to regenerative design. Andrew is also a documentary videographer who travels the world documenting epic permaculture projects in places such as India, Egypt, Mexico, Cuba, and throughout the US. You can view his videos and series on his YouTube channel. To watch this video episode on Youtube → https://youtu.be/52L4Ncs0jLk For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/64-andrew-millison
3/29/20231 hour, 24 minutes, 40 seconds
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Paul Martin: "Hydrogen - The Decarbonization Problem"

On this episode, chemical engineer Paul Martin joins The Great Simplification to talk about all things hydrogen. There are many ‘Fuels of the Future’ about which the media likes to create hopeful and seamless narratives, one of the currently popular of these being hydrogen. Where does hydrogen come from and what do we already depend on hydrogen for - is it as ‘clean’ as the media leads us to believe? How can we think about hydrogen from a systems perspective to determine if it is really an energy solution - or an energy problem? What does this mean for the design of global supply chains entering into a simplified material future? About Paul Martin: Paul Martin is a Canadian chemical engineer with decades of experience making and using hydrogen and syngas. As a chemical process development specialist, Paul offers services to an international clientele via his private consultancy Spitfire Research. He is also co-founder of the Hydrogen Science Coalition, a nonprofit organization providing science-based information about hydrogen from a position free from commercial interest.   For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/63-paul-martin To watch this video episode on Youtube → https://youtu.be/YVjEK_PjvD0
3/22/20231 hour, 21 minutes, 9 seconds
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A Bigger Boat | Frankly #26

In this Frankly, Nate shares some context about how he thinks about the recent global banking and financial market news. How do the catalysts triggering the SVB collapse compare to the 2008 financial crisis? What might world financial market reactions indicate as we move closer to The Great Simplification? What can we learn and proactively plan for by taking a balanced, comprehensive view of the global financial system and banking? One thing to be sure of: world governments and central banks “are gonna need bigger boats” as more and more entities require bailouts and guarantees. Eventually that ‘boat’ may become so big that it will be “Too Big to Save”.   Watch on Youtube: https://youtu.be/eOYU1VlwTNs   For Show Notes and More: www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/26-a-bigger-boat 
3/16/202313 minutes, 42 seconds
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Jodi Archambault: "Relationships, Reciprocity and Resiliency"

On this episode, Jodi Archambault, a member of the Hunkpapa and Oglala Lakota tribes, joins the podcast to share her experiences as an activist, government official, and someone who has lived amidst many cultures. While this podcast is primarily dominated by a western and US point of view, there is a huge variety of perspectives and social models we neglect and can learn from. The many different indigenous tribes within the North American continent each have a unique viewpoint and are widely recognized as leading lives that are more in tune with the Earth - known to the Lakota people as Grandmother Earth. Can we learn to respect nature not as things to be exploited and used, but rather as living relatives that are too sacred to be sold? About Jodi Archambault: Jodi Archambault is currently the Director of Indigenous Peoples Initiatives at Wend Collective, a social impact fund working across sectors to create positive change. Prior to joining Wend, Ms. Archambault was a Policy Advisor at Sonosky, Chambers & Sachse, a national Native American rights law firm. Between 2009 and 2015, she was a political appointee for President Barack Obama. During her tenure in the Obama Administration, Ms. Archambault served as the Special Assistant to the President for Native American Affairs on the White House Domestic Policy Council. Ms. Archambault holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Native American Studies from Dartmouth College and a Master of Public Policy from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/62-jodi-archambault  
3/15/20231 hour, 3 minutes, 42 seconds
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Loss Aversion | Frankly #25

On this Frankly, Nate reflects on his experiences in the financial industry with the cognitive bias Loss Aversion and the ways it may manifest to the coming material throughput declines during The Great Simplification. Why do losses feel so much stronger to us than gains - even when we have an overabundance of wealth? Can being aware of this evolved psychological trait diffuse its intensity? How does this affect our ability to perceive and plan for the reality of less available energy and resources in the future? To Watch on Youtube: https://youtu.be/cKqu3gH1Mz4 For Show Notes and More:   
3/10/202310 minutes, 36 seconds
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Gareth Roberts: "Geology, Optimism, & Something Completely Different"

On this episode, geologist and entrepreneur Gareth Roberts joins Nate on the podcast to discuss the geological science behind how we find, extract, and deplete fossil hydrocarbons. Gareth and Nate also unpack how financial policy, government, and an energy transition interact with an aging hydrocarbon-based grid. What does all of this mean for our energy future? How can we use humor to process and make sense of these societal challenges? How do scientists, communicators, and planners come together to respond to such challenges?  About Gareth Roberts: Gareth is an entrepreneur and successful founder and leader of a large public oil and gas company. He was born in the UK and studied geology at Oxford University before going on to work for Texaco and Murphy Oil in the US and UK. In the 1980s he became independent and subsequently founded Denbury Resources (NYSE: DNR), which grew into a $10 billion company under his leadership. Gareth stepped down from Denbury 10 years ago and has since been involved in the creation of various businesses, including ones involved in carbon sequestration and helium exploration. For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/61-gareth-roberts To watch this video episode on Youtube → https://youtu.be/MNtmuFpdNlc  
3/8/20231 hour, 12 minutes, 22 seconds
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Nina Simons: "Dancing With Contradictions - A Systems View"

On this episode, author and social entrepreneur Nina Simons reminds us that in a fact driven culture, sometimes it’s important to return to the emotional, physical, and even spiritual in order to balance the conversation. In a world full of 8 billion unique individuals, how can we learn to listen to each person’s unique experience and perspective? Can we integrate the rational with our intuitions, and embody some of the shifts we’d like to see in the world? About Nina Simons: Nina Simons is the Co-founder and Chief Relationship Officer at Bioneers. She is a social entrepreneur passionate about reinventing leadership, restoring the feminine, and co-creating a healthy and equitable future for all life on Earth. She co-edited Moonrise: The Power of Women Leading from the Heart, and authored Nature, Culture, and the Sacred: A Woman Listens for Leadership—released as a second edition in 2022 with an accompanying discussion guide and embodied practices. The first edition won Nautilus awards in the categories of Women in the 21st Century and Social Change & Social Justice. Nina serves on the Advisory Council for Daughters for Earth, and in 2017, received the Goi Peace Award with her husband and partner Kenny Ausubel. For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/60-nina-simons To watch this video episode on Youtube → https://youtu.be/qIXFwwOdvlo
3/1/20231 hour, 23 minutes, 26 seconds
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Jonathan Haidt: "Social Psychology in an Age of Social Fragmentation"

Today, Nate is joined by social psychologist Jonathan Haidt. Professor Haidt is one of the leaders in the understanding of human biases and predispositions, and how they affect cooperation, communication, and change-making. Human psychology and behavior is at the root of the larger predicament that humanity faces. Is it possible to use a better understanding of our own psychology to change our behavior and the behavior of future generations? Is social media hijacking the vulnerabilities of our social-psychological nature? How can we redesign systems technologies and systems to bring out the better sides of our natures, instead of amplifying the worst?  About Jonathan Haidt: Jonathan Haidt is a social psychologist at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992. Haidt’s research examines the intuitive foundations of morality, and how morality varies across cultural and political divisions. Haidt is the author of The Happiness Hypothesis (2006) and of The New York Times bestsellers The Righteous Mind (2012) and The Coddling of the American Mind (2018, with Greg Lukianoff). In 2019 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Since 2018 he has been studying the contributions of social media to the decline of teen mental health and the rise of political dysfunction. He is currently writing two books: Kids In Space: Why teen mental health is collapsing, and Life After Babel: Adapting to a world we can no longer share. For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/59-jonathan-haidt To watch this video episode on Youtube → https://youtu.be/IB4lGwxysEk  
2/22/20231 hour, 22 minutes, 15 seconds
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Olivia Lazard: "Peace and Power in the Mineral Age”

On this episode, environmental peacemaker and mediator Olivia Lazard joins Nate to unpack the relationship between mineral deposits, conflict-vulnerable zones, and high biodiversity areas to create interlocking risks to geopolitical and climate stability. Much like Olivia’s research, this conversation covers a wide variety of topics and is jam-packed with information. Will we have to plunder the planet in order to save it? Will we be able to transition to a multi-polar world order somewhat peacefully? And what can we learn from mediators and peacemakers, like Olivia, as we move into a more materially constrained future - where the whole pie is smaller? About Olivia Lazard: Olivia is an environmental peacemaking and mediation practitioner as well as a researcher and a fellow at Carnegie Europe. Her research focuses on the geopolitics of climate, the transition ushered by climate change, and the risks of conflict and fragility associated with climate change and environmental collapse. She has over twelve years of experience in the peacemaking sector at field and policy levels. In her fieldwork, her focus was to understand how globalization and the international political economy shaped patterns of violence and vulnerability patterns as well as formed new types of conflict systems that our international governance architecture has difficulty tackling with agility. For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/58-olivia-lazard To watch this video episode on Youtube → https://youtu.be/UNkzGKTjBWM
2/15/20231 hour, 29 minutes, 41 seconds
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Gaya Herrington: "Humanity’s Soul: Life or Growth?"

On this episode, Nate speaks with econometrician and sustainability researcher Gaya Herrington about her new book, Five Insights for Avoiding Global Collapse, a more in-depth and personal telling of her 2021 review of the Limits to Growth (LTG). More than 50 years after the original LTG report was released, the model trajectories remain both relevant and controversial, as we continue with the ‘business as usual’ scenario, in which the LTG model resulted in collapse. Why are we stuck on this road and how are our growth based economic systems optimized to keep us there? Is it possible to shift our goals to a different path, away from growth, focused on the well-being of all life? Can we plan or mitigate the path to descent? About Gaya Herrington: Gaya is a Dutch econometrician, sustainability researcher, and women's rights activist. Gaya holds masters’ degrees in both econometrics and sustainability studies. After becoming disillusioned by initially working in the financial sector Gaya became the executive director of StoereVrouwen, a non-profit Dutch women's movement promoting sustainable economic policies through activism. In 2014, Herrington became the Director of Sustainability Services of KPMG. Most recently, her study on the projections made in the 1972 Limits to Growth report was widely publicized internationally. She is currently Vice President Sustainability Research at Schneider Electric. For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/57-Gaya-Herrington
2/8/20231 hour, 27 minutes, 46 seconds
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NOT for Sale | Frankly #24

Recorded January 30, 2023   Description This week, Nate reflects on one of the biggest questions humanity is facing - what is and is NOT for sale? The Biden Administration approval of a 20 year ban on mining near the Boundary Waters and the regional ‘Not for Sale’ movement to prevent selling water from Lake Superior to the West are evidence that perhaps we can see nature’s value beyond monetary gain.  What have we already “sold” to feed an insatiable appetite for more energy and more materials? And where will we draw the line between what humanity is willing to “sell” and what we decide is sacred and non-negotiable?  Have we thought about what might be ‘for sale’ in our own lives in the future - and what will not be?  For Show Notes and more visit: 
2/3/20238 minutes, 33 seconds
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David Sloan Wilson: "Chickens, Cooperation and a Pro-social World"

On this episode, evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson joins Nate to unpack how evolution can be used to explain and understand modern human behavior, particularly with respect to cooperation and pro-social behavior. David is a leading scholar in this field, especially on the resurgence of the concept ‘multi-level selection’. How can an evolutionary idea, first thought of by Darwin and subsequently ignored until recently, shed light on human’s inherent balance between competition and cooperation? And how might our improved knowledge of where we come from inform our behaviors and collective governance in the decades ahead? About David Sloan Wilson: David Sloan Wilson is one of the foremost evolutionary thinkers and gifted communicators about evolution to the general public. He is SUNY Distinguished Professor of Biology and Anthropology Emeritus at Binghamton University and President of the nonprofit organization ProSocial World, whose mission is "To consciously evolve a world that works for all".  His most recent books are This View of Life: Completing the Darwinian Revolution, Prosocial: Using Evolutionary Science to Build Productive, Equitable, and Collaborative Groups (with Paul Atkins and Steven C. Hayes), and his first novel, Atlas Hugged: The Autobiography of John Galt III. For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/56-david-sloan-wilson  
2/1/20231 hour, 22 minutes, 24 seconds
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The Mordor Economy | Frankly #23

Description This week, Nate walks through the path we are currently on en route to the Great Simplification - a path towards a “Mordor Economy”. Based on data from colleagues Art Berman and Carey King, Nate untangles the complex relationship between biology, GDP, and net energy. How is an economic metabolism based on a need for growth creating a pathway for increasing amounts of energy to be directed to the energy sector itself? Why hasn’t the rapid growth of renewables satiated our energy appetite? How is the use of credit masking the full energetic-cost of energy?  Can we proactively take the necessary steps to reset the balance between energy efficiency and energy consumption to pass through Mordor unscathed and arrive at the Great Simplification? Watch this episode on Youtube Show Notes and Links to Learn More
1/27/202312 minutes, 33 seconds
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Erica Thompson: "Models, The Hawkmoth Effect, and the Future"

On this episode, Dr. Erica Thompson joins Nate to unpack her recent book Escape From Model Land. Erica explores the pitfalls of conventional science models and the opportunities by which models can augment our imagination and collective understanding. What is a model, and how do our worldviews shape the way they’re made - and conversely, how do they shape our worldviews? How can we rethink and bring creativity into something as scientific as modeling to create maps of the future that are both more accurate and - most importantly - more helpful to planning responses? About Eric Thompson: Dr Erica Thompson is a Senior Policy Fellow at the LSE Data Science Institute, where she works on a broad programme of theoretical and practical research about mathematical models, their use, interpretation and social context.  She recently authored Escape From Model Land (Basic Books, 2022) which explores the opportunities and challenges of augmenting our imagination about the future with mathematical tools. For Show Notes and More visit https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/55-erica-thompson
1/25/20231 hour, 12 minutes, 57 seconds
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Arthur Berman: "Peak Oil - The Hedonic Adjustment"

On this episode, petroleum geologist Arthur Berman returns to unpack the development and drawbacks of ‘peak oil’. Art explains how our institutions have redefined what is considered oil, which has created an illusion of constantly growing oil production. The reality is that - circa 2023 - fully 40% of what is called oil is comprised of things that are ‘not oil’. What does this imply for global peak oil? Is peak oil, an observation which has been around for decades and repeatedly proven ‘wrong’, even relevant today? Is a specific ‘peak’ date even helpful or should we be focusing on the logical implications of a declining primary resource for global economies? And then, what should we do About Art Berman: Arthur E. Berman is a petroleum geologist with 36 years of oil and gas industry experience. He is an expert on U.S. shale plays and is currently consulting for several E&P companies and capital groups in the energy sector. For Show Notes and More visit https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/54-arthur-berman To watch this video episode on Youtube → https://youtu.be/CDBJdQnjE2o   
1/18/20231 hour, 10 minutes, 6 seconds
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William E. Rees: "The Fundamental Issue - Overshoot"

On this episode, Nate is joined by systems ecologist William E. Rees. Professor Rees outlines why most of the challenges facing humanity and the biosphere have a common origin - ecological overshoot. Bill also unpacks “the ecological footprint” - a concept that he co-created, that measures the actual resources used by a given population. Bill also describes his experience as a leading thinker in public policy and planning based on ecological conditions for sustainable socioeconomic development, and the challenges he’s faced working in a system which (so far) rejects such premises. Is it possible for a different way of measuring the system to set different goals of what it means to be successful as a society? About Bill Rees: William Rees is a population ecologist, ecological economist, Professor Emeritus and former Director of the University of British Columbia’s School of Community and Regional Planning in Vancouver, Canada. He researches the implications of global ecological trends for the longevity of civilization, with special foci on urban (un)sustainability and cultural/cognitive barriers to rational public policy. Prof Rees is best known as the originator and co-developer with Dr Mathis Wackernagel of ‘ecological footprint analysis’ (EFA), a quantitative tool that estimates human demands on ecosystems and the extent to which humanity is in ‘ecological overshoot.’ Dr Rees is a founding member and former President of the Canadian Society for Ecological Economics; a founding Director of the OneEarth Living Initiative; a Fellow of the Post-Carbon Institute and an Associate Fellow of the Great Transition Initiative. For Show Notes and More visit https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/53-william-rees To watch this video episode on Youtube → https://youtu.be/LQTuDttP2Yg
1/11/20231 hour, 59 minutes, 2 seconds
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The Simple Story of Civilization with Tom Murphy | Frankly #22

This week, Nate invites colleague Tom Murphy, professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego and writer of ‘Do the Math’, to unpack his recent essay The Simple Story of Civilization. Tom condenses the vast timescale of human life on Earth to an average human lifespan to give us a sense of the anomalous period we’re living through. What is civilization and how quickly did it come about?  Can technology redirect civilization from its current perilous course? Is optimism näive or is it necessary in order to make the hard decisions within us? A 30 minute overview with Nate and Professor Tom Murphy. For Show Notes and More: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/22-the-simple-story-of-civilization
1/6/202329 minutes, 45 seconds
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Giorgos Kallis: "Cultural Surplus and ‘Dépense’"

On this episode, Nate is joined by ecological economist and degrowth scholar Giorgos Kallis. He and Nate discuss the science and philosophy behind the degrowth movement and some of the challenges behind implementing such an enormous task. As a system precariously based on growth becomes more unstable, it is important to turn to those who specialize in ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking. This doesn’t necessarily mean we, as a society, are going to advocate or plan for degrowth - but postgrowth societies are on the horizon, and in many places are already here. Perhaps, the larger purpose of degrowth scholarship (and conversations like these) is to act as Overton Windows - to help people imagine and actualize behaviors and networks that will help us adjust in a post-growth world.  About Giorgos Kallis: Giorgos Kallis is an ecological economist and political ecologist working on environmental justice and limits to growth. He has a Bachelor's degree in chemistry and a Masters in environmental engineering from Imperial College, a PhD in environmental policy from the University of the Aegean, and a second Masters in economics from the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics. He has been an ICREA professor since 2010. Before coming to Barcelona, Giorgos was a Marie Curie International Fellow at the Energy and Resources group at the University of California-Berkeley. He has also written numerous books, including his latest, Limits: Why Malthus was Wrong and Why Environmentalists Should Care.  For Show Notes and More visit https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/52-giorgos-kallis To watch this video episode on Youtube → https://youtu.be/4VlVqw_BKdU 
1/4/20231 hour, 24 minutes, 13 seconds
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Reflections, Predictions, and Interventions | Frankly #21

As The Great Simplification podcast celebrates its first anniversary, Nate reflects on an incredibly busy year and what he learned from the wide array of guests over 51 podcasts and 21 Franklys.  Nate looks ahead into 2023 and the challenges we face geo-politically, socially, technically, and behaviorally.  Join Nate as he shares insights, personal intentions and kicks off year two of The Great Simplification with Nate Hagens.   For a video version go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-6LTeqOHyg For Episodes, Show Notes and More go to https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/21-reflections-predictions-intentions 
12/29/202215 minutes, 30 seconds
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DJ White: "Ocean Effectivism" | The Great Simplification #51

Show Summary:   On this episode, Nate is joined by Eco-interventionist and long time friend DJ White. DJ is not necessarily a household name, but has been instrumental in successful environmental interventions - primarily for the oceans - for the last four decades. The list of his behind-the-scenes accomplishments is long, but today he joins Nate to describe how to be effective in change-making and outline ways that current activist efforts could be improved. He also shares his own profound experiences with some of Earth’s most intelligent creatures and how these cetacean friends shaped his life’s work.   About DJ White:   DJ White is a co-founder of Greenpeace International and founder of EarthTrust. He has played a leading role in protecting dolphins, whales, sea turtles, and countless other marine animals, including being the driving force behind the transition to more dolphin-friendly tuna, stopping widespread use of ocean drift nets in the 1980s, successfully stopping a national dolphin drive kill, and breaking the deadlock in capping the Kuwait oil fires. To Listen on Youtube For Show Notes and Links to Learn more 
12/28/20221 hour, 58 minutes, 23 seconds
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Daniel Schmachtenberger: "Bend Not Break Part 5: Criteria and Categories for Response" | The Great Simplification #50

Show Summary: On this 5th and final installment of the Bend Not Break series with Daniel Schmachtenberger, we unpack the framework and mindset needed to begin thinking about responses. This conversation touches on what it means to work on personal development in the light of a polycrisis, and how it is truly a never ending but necessary challenge. Finally, Daniel and Nate break down a 3x3 grid on time frame and category of responses.  Whilst this is the end of this series, there is, of course, much left to be unpacked. If there are any specific topics you want covered in a follow up Daniel/Nate conversation, we encourage you to leave your questions in the comments of the Youtube video, which can be found here -> https://youtu.be/Kep8Fi_rUUI    About Daniel Schmachtenberger: Daniel Schmachtenberger is a founding member of The Consilience Project, aimed at improving public sensemaking and dialogue.  The throughline of his interests has to do with ways of improving the health and development of individuals and society, with a virtuous relationship between the two as a goal. Towards these ends, he’s had particular interest in the topics of catastrophic and existential risk, civilization and institutional decay and collapse as well as progress, collective action problems, social organization theories, and the relevant domains in philosophy and science. For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/50-daniel-schmachtenberger To watch this video episode on Youtube → https://youtu.be/Kep8Fi_rUUI 
12/19/20222 hours, 20 minutes, 44 seconds
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Staying Warm Data with Nora Bateson | Frankly #20

Winter has come - and for some people it’s colder and more expensive than the recent past. This week Nate reconnects with Nora Bateson to discuss how she and others living in Sweden are responding to the phenomenal spike in their electricity costs, which are currently 35-40x higher than this time last year. What steps are people taking in their own homes to stay warm and reduce energy use, and what tools and support is the government providing its citizens? Is there any single event or person to blame for the drastic increase in energy costs or is the root cause broad and deep within the systems we have created? What can we learn from this dress rehearsal as we anticipate and prepare for The Great Simplification? For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly 
12/16/202228 minutes, 50 seconds
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Simon Michaux: "The Arcadians"

On this episode, mining and geology expert Simon Michaux returns to give a preliminary framework for responses to the coming energy and material constraints described in the previous episode. This includes both practical thoughts for how to organize communities around resources and also a shift in mindset from short term to long-term and from competition to cooperation. How do we simultaneously lay out all of the biophysical constraints on the table so that we can begin preparing for and adapting to a changing future?  About Simon Michaux Dr. Simon Michaux is an Associate Professor of Geometallurgy at the Geological Survey of Finland. He has a PhD in mining engineering. Dr. Michaux’s long-term work is on societal transformation toward a circular economy.  Show Notes & Links to Learn More
12/14/20221 hour, 23 minutes, 54 seconds
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Tomas Björkman: "The Great Transformation - Metamodernism and The Future"

On this episode, author and social entrepreneur Tomas Björkman joins Nate to discuss his recent projects promoting inner development based on his books The Nordic Secret and The World We Create. Tomas unpacks the philosophical framework of ‘metamodernism’ and ultimately why having more mindful, engaged, global citizens is so critical to our coming challenges. How can we as individuals contribute to a more positive transition by becoming more thoughtful and resilient? About Tomas Björkman: After many years in business as an entrepreneur and investment banker, Tomas Björkman is now a social entrepreneur and the founder of Ekskäret Foundation in Stockholm. He is also the co-founder of the research institute Perspectiva in London, the Co-creation Loft, the media platform Emerge in Berlin, the 29k.org personal development platform, and the Inner Development Goals (IDGs) framework. He is a member of the Club of Rome and a fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Science. He is the author of three books: The Market Myth (2016), The Nordic Secret (together with Lene Rachel Andersen, 2017) and The World We Create (2019). He divides his time between London, Stockholm and Berlin. For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/48-tomas-bjorkman
12/7/20221 hour, 32 minutes, 45 seconds
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"Islands" | Frankly #19

There are some pretty amazing things that can be tracked via analytics on Youtube and other podcast servers - including from where the people tuning into a podcast are watching. For whatever reason, there is a large number of people listening to The Great Simplification from the island countries of Australia and New Zealand - much larger than the population alone would predict. In this Frankly, Nate reflects on why this might be, and what it means to be on an island (geographic or other) during a massive cultural transition. For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly Video version can be found here: https://youtu.be/oDjxnmZVcNM  
12/2/202210 minutes, 40 seconds
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Patrick Ophuls: "Energy, Politics, and The Future"

Today, ecologist, political scientist, and author Patrick Ophuls joins Nate to discuss his new book, The Tragedy of Industrial Civilization and The Future of Politics. As he’s been doing for his lifetime of scholarship, Patrick unpacks how energy, ecology and our political arrangements leave us in a predicament with no simple solutions. Before we can even begin to plan for the future, we need to understand the enormity of the biophysical challenges we will have to face - Patrick Ophuls helps us do just that. About Patrick Ophuls: Dr. Patrick Ophuls (who writes under the pen name William Ophuls) is an American political scientist, ecologist, independent scholar, and author. Patrick has a PhD in political science from Yale University and has been a prominent voice in the environmental movement since the 1970s. His award winning book in 1977 is on the bookshelves of most people I know. He has written 10 books including ‘Ecology and the Politics of Scarcity’, ‘Plato's Revenge’, ‘Politics in the Age of Ecology’, and ‘Immoderate Greatness: Why Civilizations Fail’.   For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/47-patrick-ophuls
11/30/20221 hour, 9 minutes, 45 seconds
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Energy Gratitude | Frankly #18

This week, most of the United States celebrates Thanksgiving.  As we think about the things we are grateful for - family, food, football, dogs etc. - we don’t often remember to recognize energy’s role in enabling all this. . In this brief video, Nate reflects on all the things which abundant and cheap energy provide for us, especially in the United States, that we often take for granted. The opposite of energy blindness might be ‘energy gratitude’, so being more aware of all the magic we are surrounded by everyday is perhaps a first step in conserving it and planning for a less energy intensive future. For Show Notes and more visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly
11/24/20226 minutes, 22 seconds
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Vandana Shiva: "Agroecology and The Great Simplification"

Today, ecology activist and regenerative agriculture advocate Vandana Shiva joins me to discuss how her lifetime of work has shaped the way she sees the world. From chaining herself to trees to winning against powerful agriculture giants like Monsanto, Vandana shares the many lessons she’s learned in fighting for food systems that are better for the Earth and better for humans. Can we shift away from fossil input intensive agriculture that produces commodities lacking in full nutrients towards one with more labor, more community and more nutritious food? About Vandana Shiva: Vandana Shiva is a well known activist, author of many books, and is a global champion on regenerative local agriculture, biodiversity and nutritious food. She has a PhD in physics and 40 years ago founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, an independent research institute that works on the most significant ecological problems of our times.  For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/46-vandana-shiva
11/23/20221 hour, 10 minutes, 40 seconds
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Russia - Be Careful What We Wish For | Frankly #17

We were reminded this week of how precarious and dangerous the ongoing NATO/Russia situation is. An errant missile in Poland on Tuesday nearly started World War III (thankfully - cooler heads prevailed). The situation in Ukraine is horribly complex - but are people in the USA even paying attention? Many naively believe getting rid of Putin or ‘winning’ militarily vs Russia are valid and reasonable goals. But from a systems vantage there is more going on here than the mainstream narrative - we are in the liminal space between a unipolar and multipolar world order - a time fraught with various risks.  Our collective understanding/response is vital to livable futures.     For Show Notes and More visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly
11/18/202211 minutes, 12 seconds
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Jon Erickson: "Illusions, Power and the Political Economy"

On this episode, Nate is joined by Sustainability Science and Policy Professor Jon Erickson. He and Nate dive into Jon’s new book The Progress Illusion: Reclaiming our Future from the Fairytale of Economics, which covers the economic myths that have shaped our modern reality. How can we reshape the narrative and shift the paradigm towards different economic systems that promote human and ecological well-being over material consumption?  About Jon Erickson: Jon Erickson is the David Blittersdorf Professor of Sustainability Science & Policy at the University of Vermont. He has published widely on energy and climate change policy, land conservation, watershed planning, environmental public health, and the theory and practice of ecological economics.  He advised presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on economics and energy issues.
11/16/20221 hour, 22 minutes, 9 seconds
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7 Boundaries of Climate Concern | Frankly #16

In the midst of the COP27 in Egypt and one of the warmest Wisconsin Novembers on record, this week’s Frankly is a reflection on the boundaries with which humans use to think about the threat of climate change. The past 26 Climate Conferences have attempted to use the same framing to solve an issue that is both systemic in nature and larger than any one nation or economy. How can we begin to solve such an existential challenge without understanding the scope of the problem and who it will affect most? How do YOU think about climate and the future? For Show Notes visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/16-7-boundaries-of-climate-concern  
11/11/202213 minutes, 22 seconds
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Arthur Berman: “The Devil is in the Diesel”

On this episode, petroleum geologist Arthur Berman returns to discuss recent diesel shortages and go into depth on the importance of diesel and the complexity of getting it and other products from a barrel of crude oil. He and Nate also talk about the nuances of the global oil market as it shifts from the effects of the Russian/Ukraine war. Is the USA really a net exporter of petroleum and energy independent? And would making every car and truck on the road electric powered free us from needing crude oil?  About Arthur Berman: Arthur E. Berman is a petroleum geologist with 36 years of oil and gas industry experience. He is an expert on U.S. shale plays and is currently consulting for several E&P companies and capital groups in the energy sector. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/44-art-berman
11/9/20221 hour, 15 minutes, 34 seconds
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7 Realities - No Matter Who Wins

With the upcoming election, citizens of the USA once again align our beliefs and dreams with our ‘favored’’ political party, while often showing disdain and ridicule for the opposition. There is an unspoken hope that if all 3 branches of government are unified (with the right flavor!), the issues that we care about will finally be addressed. In this segment of Frankly, Nate reflects on the growing systemic realities that we’ll have to face in the coming decade regardless of who wins this November. These realities can only be solved/responded to with a functioning system of governance. How will we work together as a society to overcome these challenges, rather than pitting ourselves against each other and shouting blame? For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/15-7-realities-no-matter-who-wins
11/4/20229 minutes, 41 seconds
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Betsy Taylor: “Finding Hope in Nature-Based Solutions”

In this episode, Nate is joined by environmental and social activist Betsy Taylor. She and Nate have a wide ranging conversation about climate, consumption, culture, nuclear war, agriculture and the future. How has the environmental movement evolved over the past couple decades and how has it interacted with other social change movements? Why is reconstructing our food system more important now than ever? About Betsy Taylor:  Betsy Taylor has long been an icon in the environmental and culture change fields. She founded the climate network 1Sky, which established the domestic base and ultimately merged with 350.org. She ran the Center for a New American Dream and more recently Breakthrough Strategies and Solutions. Recently, Betsy has moved to supporting the field of regenerative agriculture, promoting the potential of our lands to sequester carbon pollution while boosting food security and habitat protection. For Episode Show Notes and Transcript: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/43-betsy-taylor
11/2/20221 hour, 22 minutes, 2 seconds
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7 Shades of Jekyll and Hyde | Frankly #14

Its nigh Halloween. Monsters (in costume) and revelry. As humans - we each possess a rational, caring ‘Dr. Jekyll’ and an atavistic, emotional, reactive ‘Mr. Hyde’. This brief (15 minute) reflection shows 7 areas of our life where Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde interact and suggests ways for a stable (and more sustainable) integration might occur. For Show Notes, Transcript, and more visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/14-7-shades-of-jekyll-and-hyde
10/30/202215 minutes, 10 seconds
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Daniel Schmachtenberger: “Bend not Break #4: Modeling the Drivers of the Metacrisis”

In this fourth installment of conversations with Daniel Schmachtenberger, we dive deeper into the nuances of humans using energy, materials and technology. Human’s ability to develop and use tools is one of our greatest strengths - yet has also led to increasing destruction of the natural world. How does technology intensify the binding effects of a world order based on growth? Is there any way out - or could global solutions just make the problem worse? About Daniel Schmachtenberger: Daniel Schmachtenberger is a founding member of The Consilience Project, aimed at improving public sensemaking and dialogue.  The throughline of his interests has to do with ways of improving the health and development of individuals and society, with a virtuous relationship between the two as a goal. Towards these ends, he’s had particular interest in the topics of catastrophic and existential risk, civilization and institutional decay and collapse as well as progress, collective action problems, social organization theories, and the relevant domains in philosophy and science. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/42-daniel-schmachtenberger
10/26/20222 hours, 6 minutes, 28 seconds
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The Quiet Part Out Loud | Frankly #13

Of all the challenges facing our culture, the fact that humans use social sorting mechanisms to solve physical world problems looms as perhaps the greatest. This Frankly is a reflection on the possibility of sharing a socially unpalatable message to a large percentage of citizens and leaders. Our vertical and horizontal social infrastructure isn’t built to process, share and address challenges of this magnitude - but instead to ignore, water down, and mitigate. Will the quiet part be spread out loud to large amounts of humans as The Great Simplification becomes more obvious? Or will the quiet part be socially squashed a la George Orwell? Of course I have particular interest in this question, and its resolution. Time is moving very fast… For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/13-the-quiet-part-out-loud
10/21/202211 minutes, 58 seconds
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Marty Kearns: “Building Networks in Uncertain Times”

On this episode, Nate is joined by Marty Kearns, a civic organizer and networking specialist. He and Marty discuss why both networks and communities will be critical to the coming challenges we face. How will the social ties we form now influence the outcome of power, peace and new social organization? How can we organize ourselves in order to best meet the future that is coming? About Marty Kearns:Marty Kearns is the Executive Director of Netcentric Campaigns, leading product design, project oversight, evaluation, development of advocacy network theory and strategic business planning. Prior to that Marty developed communication tools with Green Media Toolshed to help environmental activists. He has also created and organized numerous mass volunteer projects from data collection to wildlife preservation. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/41-marty-kearns
10/19/20221 hour, 17 minutes, 56 seconds
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The Speed Bump | Frankly #12

Despite the improved standard of living that modern finance has enabled, it has also created an unsustainable economic system rife with systemic risk. Recent trends in debt, monetary inflation, interest rates and U.S. dollar hegemony are accelerating us toward a point of biophysical reckoning when the system can no longer function as intended, and nearly everyone's financial comfort level will suffer in the ensuing recalibration back to reality. This week’s Frankly is a reflection on the financial industry’s history of accelerating through crisis after crisis, each time sowing the seeds of the next, bigger crisis.  Is the mother of all speed bumps just ahead? For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/12-the-speed-bump
10/14/202222 minutes, 24 seconds
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In Spite Of... | Frankly #11

We are a product of evolutionary processes - certain categories of behaviors made our ancestors more ‘fit’ depending on the environmental/social circumstances in the past. One of these behaviors - ‘spite’ - is when an animal (or human) actively does something against their self-interest as long as it hurts their competitor more. In a post growth world I expect - and fear - that this dynamic will become more prevalent at micro scales in our daily lives but also - and of more immediate concern - at the macro scale of nation states. I thought it worth a short video to explain spite, to understand it, as a small thread of awareness in hopes of avoiding it. We are going to need as much pro-social (as opposed to anti-social) behavior in coming decades as possible. A short reflection, on the concept of ‘spite’. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/frankly-11-in-spite-of
10/7/202212 minutes, 4 seconds
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Ayan Mahamoud: “East Africa and the Poly-Crisis”

On this episode, Nate talks with Ayan Mahamoud, a climate and resilience planner from Djibouti. They discuss the growing challenge the poly-crisis poses for the Global South and how climate change is already creating challenges for people (and animals) in East Africa.In many ways, the discussions in our world are not only energy blind but also blind to accelerating threats to nations outside our own. What does managing and coordinating responses look like? What can we learn from communities already dealing with increasing poverty and climate impacts? About Ayan Mahamoud: Ayan Mahamoud (PhD) is the Head of the Socioeconomic, Policy, Research and Marketing Department of ICPALD. She is an expert in Regional and Transboundary Polycrisis, Climate Security and Climate Fragility and their policy dimensions for sustained coordinated action. She contributes to the IGAD Climate Security Agenda and collaborates with institutions across the IGAD Member States, Divisions, Specialised Institutions, the UN Office of the Special Envoy, UNDP, CGIAR and various independent think tanks such as Adelphi, the Clingendael Institute. She also manages the USAID Programme Portfolio at IGAD and deals with issues related to Resilience/Climate Fragility Risks/Climate Adaptation/Dryland Development, Cross-Border Health, Countering Violent Extremism, and Conflict Prevention/Early Warning. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/39-ayan-mahamoud
10/5/20221 hour, 12 minutes, 49 seconds
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The 7 Stages of Climate Awareness | Frankly #10

Climate change is often described as one of the single most important and existential issues of our time - that there is no greater threat to humanity. While the effects of climate on our ecosystems and wildlife is one of my greatest concerns, it does not tell the whole story.  On this weeks Frankly, I highlight (what was in my case) Seven Stages of Climate Awareness – from recognizing ‘there is an environment’ to understanding that the systems dynamics of the human economy implies a much different choreography of societal response than is currently being advertised and pursued. Global warming is becoming more obvious to more people, but the interventions look quite different at Stage 7 than Stage 4. It is unlikely we’ll find ‘solutions’ without first understanding the dynamics at its core. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/frankly-10-the-7-stages-of-climate
9/30/202214 minutes, 23 seconds
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Sebastian Heitmann: “Gigacorns”

On this episode, venture capitalist and entrepreneur Sebastian Heitmann discusses his work in tech innovation towards more sustainable futures. Technology will inherently be a part of any human future - the question is what will this technology be? Sebastian’s work focuses on finding what is termed ‘Gigacorns’ - scalable inventions for low(er) carbon futures. If successful, this could result in large scale reductions in the CO2 emissions for global society. About Sebastian Heitmann Sebastian Heitmann is a partner at Extantia Capital, a platform to invest in breakthrough technology solutions that address climate crisis mitigation and adaptation. The €300M platform includes Extantia Flagship, backing scalable deep decarbonisation companies, Extantia Allstars, partnering with mission-aligned climate tech venture capital fund managers, and Extantia Ignite, a sustainability hub advancing knowledge and competence in climate innovation and ESG practices. Sebastian is an entrepreneur and has worked in a range of different industries, from sports to community building to software. He received his education from the Harvard Business School and now lives in Berlin, Germany. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/38-sebastian-Heitmann
9/28/20221 hour, 34 minutes, 42 seconds
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Creatures United | Frankly #9

This week’s Frankly is a reflection in response to (and support of) Gerardo Ceballos’ new project Creatures United, launching this week at Stanford University..  The Earth is in the middle of a massive biodiversity and population loss - on the verge of a 6th Mass Extinction. Though most conversations and actions will revolve around the economy, poverty, finance, and geopolitics, the other creatures we share the planet with do not have a voice.   This short video reflection is a reminder that the natural world is a passenger on the human roller coaster ride.  It is my hope that (some, many?) humans can unite on behalf of our fellow creatures to preserve and support the amazing variety of life inhabiting the planet. From the great Blue Whale to the humble bumble bee, each animal is a part of our family - and what makes this planet home.  For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/frankly-09-creatures-united
9/24/202214 minutes, 4 seconds
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Martin Sheringer: “The Growing Threat from Chemical Pollution”

On this episode, Professor of environmental chemistry Martin Sheringer joins Nate. Together, they discuss Sheringer’s most recent paper on PFAS - the ‘forever chemicals, their ubiquity in waterways all over the globe, and their numerous critical health effects. More broadly, they outline the risks and scenarios of plastic pollution to planetary futures - and what we might do about it. Is it possible to live in a (mostly) plastic free world, and do we really have any other option? About Martin Sheringer Martin Scheringer is a professor of environmental chemistry at Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic, and works in the research program on Environmental Chemistry and Modeling at RECETOX. He holds a diploma in chemistry from the Johannes-Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany, and a doctoral degree and a habilitation from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich, Switzerland. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/37-martin-scheringer
9/21/20221 hour, 17 minutes, 12 seconds
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The 6th Pool..? | Frankly #8

On this segment of Frankly, Nate responds to the predicament of increased use of forests, especially in Europe, for heating fuel in the face of declining availability of Natural Gas and other fossil fuels. Will this be a ‘Terminal Deforestation Event’? What does this mean for the future of climate and accuracy of models? The importance of trees cannot be underestimated as we approach the end of cheap energy. Recorded September 14, 2022 For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/frankly-08-the-6th-pool
9/17/202213 minutes, 2 seconds
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Douglas Rushkoff: "The Ultimate Exit Strategy"

On this episode, Author and Professor Douglas Rushkoff joins Nate to discuss how human behavior interacts with technology and how we have arrived at a place with enormous wealth and income inequality just as society is rapidly approaching biophysical limits.  Rushkoff unpacks parts of his new book, Survival of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires, on the need to collectively break away from a top-down mindset to embrace circularity and resiliency. About Douglas Rushkoff: Named one of the “world’s ten most influential intellectuals” by MIT, Douglas Rushkoff is an author and documentarian who studies human autonomy in a digital age. His twenty books include the upcoming Survival of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires, as well as the recent Team Human, based on his podcast, and the bestsellers Present Shock, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, Program or Be Programmed, Life Inc, and Media Virus. He also made the PBS Frontline documentaries Generation Like, The Persuaders, and Merchants of Cool. His book Coercion won the Marshall McLuhan Award, and the Media Ecology Association honored him with the first Neil Postman Award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/36-douglas-rushkoff  
9/14/20221 hour, 23 minutes, 21 seconds
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Growth Until Not | Frankly #7

Earlier this week there was a livestream debate highlighting the key points of the Green Growth and DeGrowth perspectives - this week's Frankly adds a 3rd 'growth critical' perspective  - that modern society has a metabolism and momentum and will grow - in non-green ways -  until we can't. This is a critical third category that should be included in these discussions, despite its 'tougher sell'. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/frankly-07-growth-until-not
9/9/202222 minutes, 32 seconds
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Steve Vavrus: “Arctic Fever? Taking the Arctic’s Temperature”

On this episode, Climate Scientist Steve Vavrus joins Nate to discuss the Arctic and its critical impact on climate science. Why are the effects of warming so extreme in the Arctic, and what are the implications for weather events and average temperatures on the rest of the planet? Do runaway arctic feedback loops mean disaster ‘Blue Ocean’ scenarios?  Steve explains why the answers to these questions aren’t as simple as they may seem and talks about the challenges and hopes he sees for the future of humans and global climate.  About Steve Vavrus: Steve Vavrus is a Senior Scientist in the Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He uses computer climate models and observational data to understand how our climate is changing across the world, including in Wisconsin. Extreme weather events are an important theme of his research, particularly how they might be affected by climate change. Steve is co-director of the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI) and has been a long-time member of its Climate Working Group. Steve received Ph.D. and Master's degrees in meteorology at the University of Wisconsin and a Bachelor's degree in meteorology at Purdue University. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/35-steve-vavrus
9/7/202259 minutes, 35 seconds
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Kiril Sokoloff: “What’s the Most Important Question in Today’s World?”

On this episode, we meet with legendary financial icon Kiril Sokoloff to take a bird’s eye view of the global energy/financial situation. Why is the financial community so complacent about peak oil and the relationship between increasing energy scale and growth?  Can we make predictions about the future by looking back at history?   Kiril shares his professional experiences with scenario planning, disruption, and investing as well as his passion for history and the practice of Buddhism to influence and inform decision making and life. About Kiril Sokoloff: Kiril is an investor, a researcher, and long-time editor of the highly respected weekly publication “13D – What I Learned this Week”. For 50 years he has predicted major inflection points in energy and commodity prices correctly including 1980, 2002, and 2008 and recently stated sanctions on Russia will result in economic suicide for Europe. Kiril is active in philanthropy in areas of healthcare, education, and the scaling of human consciousness.  For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/34-kiril-sokoloff
8/31/20221 hour, 18 minutes, 32 seconds
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The End Of Abundance | Frankly #6

On this segment of Frankly, Nate opines on the significance of French President Macron’s statement we are nearing the “end of an era of abundance’. Nate shares what this watershed moment in the global political narrative means for Europe, the U.S. and the world - as we rapidly become less “energy-blind”. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/frankly-06-the-end-of-abundance
8/30/20229 minutes, 25 seconds
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Kris De Decker: “Low Tech: What, Why and How"

On this episode, we meet with inventor, researcher and author Kris De Decker to understand the concept of “low tech” and its relevance in a high tech society and growth-driven economy.  How does low tech differ from high tech and what does it feel like to live a low tech lifestyle? Why do we assume high tech will always be the solution, and could low tech be a feasible path for a sustainable and fulfilling future? De Decker shares his personal experiences as a low tech advocate and researcher in a high tech urban environment and how freedom from technology provides both challenges and unexpected benefits.   About Kris De Decker: Kris De Decker shifted from a journalism career covering high tech to exploring low tech through formal and personal research and projects, including the Human Power Plant and the Solar Powered Website.   De Decker is creator and author of Low Tech Magazine and No Tech Magazine, publications which explore low tech solutions to questions society assumes must be solved through high tech.   De Decker has contributed articles about science, technology, energy and the environment to Mother Earth News, Techniques et Culture, Design Magazine, The Oil Drum, Resilience, EOS, Molenecho's, "Knack", "De Tijd" and "De Standaard".  De Decker’s books "Energie in 2030" advised the Dutch government on challenges related to science and technology and his book "Stralingswarmte: gezonde warmte met minder energie" provided a guide for how heat works.    De Decker was born in Antwerp, Belgium and lives in Barcelona, Spain. De Decker describes himself as “rather inactive” on Twitter and LinkedIn. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episodes
8/24/20221 hour, 7 minutes, 53 seconds
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Timothée Parrique: "Degrowth: Slow is the New Cool"

On this episode, we meet with social scientist and researcher at the School of Economics and Management of Lund University, Timothée Parrique. What is degrowth, and how will it help define our future?  Parrique explains how the path to societal degrowth might unfold and the social and physical obstacles we may encounter on our way there. About Timothée Parrique: Timothée Parrique is a social scientist, originally from Versailles, France. He is currently a researcher at the School of Economics and Management of Lund University (Sweden). He holds a PhD in economics from the Centre d’Études et de Recherches sur le Développement (University of Clermont Auvergne, France) and the Stockholm Resilience Centre (Stockholm University, Sweden). Titled “The political economy of degrowth” (2019), his dissertation explores the economic implications of degrowth. Tim is the author of Ralentir ou périr. L’économie de la décroissance (September 2022, Seuil), a book adaptation in French of his PhD dissertation. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/32-timothee-parrique
8/17/20221 hour, 19 minutes, 17 seconds
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Daniel Schmachtenberger: “Bend not Break #3: Sensemaking, Uncertainty, and Purpose”

On this episode we meet with founding member of The Consilience Project, Daniel Schmachtenberger. In Part 3 of their series, Schmachtenberger and Hagens explore metanarratives. Why are they threatening to various sections of society? Further, Schmachtenberger helps us understand how we can take in the systemic metacrisis facing humanity in ways that grant us agency, rather than despair. About Daniel Schmachtenberger:  Daniel Schmachtenberger is a founding member of The Consilience Project, aimed at improving public sensemaking and dialogue.  The throughline of his interests has to do with ways of improving the health and development of individuals and society, with a virtuous relationship between the two as a goal. Towards these ends, he’s had particular interest in the topics of catastrophic and existential risk, civilization and institutional decay and collapse as well as progress, collective action problems, social organization theories, and the relevant domains in philosophy and science. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/31-daniel-schmachtenberger
8/10/20221 hour, 18 minutes, 19 seconds
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Steve Keen: “Mythonomics”

On this episode, we meet with Economist, Author, and Research Fellow at the Institute for Strategy, Resilience, and Security at University College in London, Steve Keen. Keen discusses how mainstream economics misses the centrality of energy to our economy and to our futures, the naive treatment to the risks of money and debt creation, and the disconnect economic theory has to climate change risks. About Steve Keen: Steve Keen is an economist, author of Debunking Economics and The New Economics: A Manifesto, a Research Fellow at the Institute for Strategy, Resilience, and Security at University College in London. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/30-steve-keen
8/3/20221 hour, 24 minutes, 13 seconds
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Josh Farley: "Money, Money, Money"

Show Summary: On this episode we meet with ecological economist and Professor in Community Development & Applied Economics and Public Administration, Josh Farley. Money. What is it? Where does it come from? How is it created? How is it tethered to our biophysical balance sheet? What is on the horizon with our monetary system? How might we create and use money differently in the future during a source and sink contained system? Josh Farley explains it all - and explains how the links between money, energy, and the economy will become more central in our lives. Click here to listen to Josh and Nate’s first conversation. About Josh Farley: Joshua Farley is an ecological economist and Professor in Community Development & Applied Economics and Public Administration at the University of Vermont. He is the President of the International Society for Ecological Economics. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/29-josh-farley
7/27/20221 hour, 20 minutes, 19 seconds
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FAQs from Episodes 1-25 of The Great Simplification | Frankly #5

On this segment of Frankly, Nate’s former student Lizzy curates and asks some of the most frequently asked questions sent in by listeners during The Great Simplification episodes 1-25. How should we be educating people on energy? What types of fossil alternatives are really feasible? Is a climate disaster the most pertinent and existential risk that we face? Nate gives his answers to these questions, and more. (A trial format for an AMA or live broadcast in future?) For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/frankly-05-faqs-on-episodes-1-25
7/23/202254 minutes, 47 seconds
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Joan Diamond: "From Kool-aid to Lemonade"

On this episode we meet with Executive Director of Stanford University’s Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere, Joan Diamond. Diamond helps us imagine the future in an uncertain time. How can we create robust strategies to help us plan? How can we avoid thinking only of worst-case scenarios? Further, Diamond offers suggestions for how people can handle their hopelessness and rage following recent Supreme Court rulings. What options exist for people to change systems? About Joan Diamond Joan Diamond has executive background in private and nonprofit sectors, including Fortune 500 energy enterprises such as executive VP of Hawaiian Electric Company, vice president and corporate secretary of a Silicon Valley telecommunications company, and COO of the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability. She is the Executive Director of Stanford University’s Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere (MAHB) and of the Crans Foresight Analysis Nexus (FAN). For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/29-josh-farley
7/20/20221 hour, 22 minutes, 9 seconds
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Joe Tainter: “Surplus, Complexity, and Simplification”

On this episode we meet with archaeologist, historian, and Professor at Utah State University, Joe Tainter. What are the key differences between complicated and complex? How can we better understand energy and society through these key distinctions? Tainter explains our current predicament based on decades of research and offers pathways for our collective future. About Joe Tainter Joe Tainter has been a professor at Utah State University in the Environment and Society Department since 2007, serving as Department Head from 2007 to 2009. His study of why societies collapse led to research on sustainability, with emphasis on energy and innovation. He has also conducted research on land-use conflict and human responses to climate change. He has written several books, including The Collapse of Complex Societies and Drilling Down: The Gulf Oil Debacle and Our Energy Dilemma. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/27-joe-tainter
7/13/20221 hour, 11 minutes, 56 seconds
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Peter Whybrow: “When More is Not Enough”

On this episode we meet with psychiatrist, neuroscientist, and author Peter Whybrow. Whybrow gives us an overview of why humans tend to consume excessively in resource-abundant societies. Why is it difficult for humans to change our ways? Additionally, Whybrow shares pathways for humans to move toward having a well-tuned brain.  About Peter Whybrow: Peter C. Whybrow, M.D. is Director Emeritus of the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the University of California, Los Angeles, the Judson Braun Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine, and author of several books, including his newest, The Well-Tuned Brain: Neuroscience and the Life Well-Lived.  For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/26-peter-whybrow
7/6/20221 hour, 21 minutes, 16 seconds
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Meeting the Future Halfway | Frankly #4

In this Frankly, Nate unpacks the choice of the podcast title “The Great Simplification”, and how he thinks about responses - rather than solutions - to the challenges we face in the decade ahead of us. He lays out the framework for the scale and degrees for how we can elevate the chances for a positive future. He also reflects about what he’s learned while hosting The Great Simplification and where he hopes to move forward in the future for the podcast. For Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/frankly-04-meeting-the-future-halfway
7/2/202221 minutes, 34 seconds
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Gerardo Ceballos: “Will the Ongoing Population Extinctions Lead to a 6th Mass Extinction?”

On this episode, we meet with ecologist and conservationist Dr. Gerardo Ceballos. Ceballos discusses animal populations, the sixth mass extinction, his new project, Creatures United, and how we can better care about and protect Earth’s remaining biodiversity. About Gerardo Ceballos: Dr. Gerardo Ceballos is an ecologist and conservationist very well-known for his theoretical and empirical work on animal ecology and conservation. He is particularly recognized by his influential work on global patterns of distribution of diversity, endemism, and extinction risk in vertebrates. Ceballos was the first scientist to publish the distribution of a complete group of organisms (mammals). He is also well – known for his contribution to understanding the magnitude and impacts of the sixth mass extinction; he has shown that vertebrate species that became extinct in the last century would have taken more than 10 thousand years under the “normal” extinction rate. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/25-gerardo-ceballos
6/29/20221 hour, 37 minutes, 10 seconds
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Jason Bradford: “A Hybrid Path to the Future of Farming”

On this episode, Jason Bradford, who is an author, activist, farmer, and teacher, talks about the energy intensity of our modern industrial agriculture system.  How do we feed billions of people with depleting energy systems? How do we also protect existing biodiversity and ecosystem health? We also discuss what makes for healthy soil, why we’re losing it, and how small farms can help get it back - while creating higher yields of healthier foods for fewer inputs.  About Jason Bradford: Jason Bradford has been affiliated with Post Carbon Institute since 2004, first as a Fellow and then as Board President. He grew up in the Bay Area of California and graduated from U.C. Davis with a B.S. in biology before earning his doctorate from Washington University in St. Louis, where he also taught ecology for a few years. After graduate school he worked for the Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development at the Missouri Botanical Garden, was a Visiting Scholar at U.C. Davis, and during that period co-founded the Andes Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research Group (ABERG). He decided to shift from academia to learn more about and practice sustainable agriculture, and in the process, completed six months of training with Ecology Action (aka GrowBiointensive) in Willits, California, and then founded Brookside School Farm. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/24-jason-bradford
6/22/20221 hour, 13 minutes, 22 seconds
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Energy Blindness | Frankly #3

Nate explains how our culture is "energy blind" and the implications. The YouTube video, featuring charts and graphs, of this podcast is available now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVjhb8Nu1Sk For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/frankly-03-energy-blindness  
6/21/202224 minutes, 6 seconds
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Tim Watkins: “From Living Like Gods to Living Your Own Story”

On this episode, we meet with author, social scientist, policy researcher, and mental health advocate Tim Watkins. Watkins gives us a bird’s eye view of how energy, the economy, the environment, and mental health fit together. How important will mental health be to help us navigate uncertain times? About Tim Watkins: Tim Watkins is the author Consciousness of Sheep, social scientist, policy researcher, and mental health advocate.  Watkins has authored a range of books, including numerous books and booklets on the subject mental health, wellbeing and self-help. In 2015 he published “Austerity - Will Kill the Economy”, a critique of the economic policies adopted in the UK since 2010; and “Britain’s Coming Energy Crisis - Peak Oil and the End of the World as we Know it”, a guide to the UK’s particular vulnerabilities in a world without cheap oil. Tim Watkins is a founder-director of Waye Forward Ltd. A qualified Life Coach, he also provides coaching, mentoring and support to other writers. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/23-tim-watkins
6/15/20221 hour, 21 minutes, 5 seconds
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Aza Raskin: “AI, The Shape of Language, and Earth’s Species”

On this episode, we meet with cofounder of the Earth Species Project, cofounder of the Center for Humane Technology, and cohost of the podcast Your Undivided Attention, Aza Raskin.  Raskin gives us a general overview of what artificial intelligence is, how it’s about to become more deeply embedded in our lives, and how he and his team plan to use AI as a Rosetta Stone to translate the languages of other species to - hopefully - expand human consciousness, empathy, and awareness of the other beings we share this planet with. About Aza Raskin: Aza is the cofounder of Earth Species Project, an open-source collaborative nonprofit dedicated to decoding animal communication. He is also the cofounder of the Center for Humane Technology and is the cohost for the podcast Your Undivided Attention. Trained as a mathematician and dark matter physicist, he has taken three companies from founding to acquisition, a co-chairing member of the World Economic Forum’s Global AI Counsel, helped found Mozilla Labs, in addition to being named FastCompany’s Master of Design, and listed on Forbes and Inc Magazines 30-under-30. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/22-aza-raskin
6/8/20221 hour, 49 minutes, 32 seconds
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Vicki Robin "Money and LIfe's Energy"

Show Summary:  On this episode, we meet with social innovator, writer, and speaker, Vicki Robin. Robin unpacks how the machine of community begins. How does being vulnerable, sharing, and being obligated to others create a system that allows everyone to contribute?  Why do we need to learn to begin asking for help? Further, Robin shares how we can begin to take steps toward food resiliency. Robin shares the story of how she only ate food that was produced within a 10-mile radius of her home for 30 days, and how we should all begin to think and act locally. About Vicki Robin: Vicki Robin is a prolific social innovator, writer and speaker. She is coauthor with Joe Dominguez of the international best-seller, Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship With Money and Achieving Financial Independence (Viking Penguin, 1992, 1998, 2008, 2018). It was an instant NY Times best seller in 1992 and steadily appeared on the Business Week Best Seller list from 1992-1997. It is available now in twelve languages. Blessing the Hands that Feed Us; Lessons from a 10-mile diet (Viking/Penguin 2014) recounts her adventures in hyper-local eating and what she learned about food and farming as well as belonging and hope. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/21-vicki-robin
6/1/20221 hour, 2 minutes, 16 seconds
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Daniel Schmachtenberger: “Bend not Break #2: Maximum Power and Hyper Agents”

On this episode we meet with founding member of The Consilience Project, Daniel Schmachtenberger. In the second of a four-part series, Nate and Daniel explore the relationship between energy, information, technology, the Superorganism, and the maximum power principle. How can we maximize returns on agency? Nate and Daniel explain the importance of hyper agents: those humans who have an outsized influence on what’s happening in the world. About Daniel Schmachtenberger: Daniel Schmachtenberger is a founding member of The Consilience Project, aimed at improving public sensemaking and dialogue.   The throughline of his interests has to do with ways of improving the health and development of individuals and society, with a virtuous relationship between the two as a goal.  Towards these ends, he’s had particular interest in the topics of catastrophic and existential risk, civilization and institutional decay and collapse as well as progress, collective action problems, social organization theories, and the relevant domains in philosophy and science. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/20-daniel-schmactenberger
5/25/20221 hour, 51 minutes, 49 seconds
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Dr. Simon Michaux: “Minerals and Materials Blindness"”

On this episode, we meet with Associate Professor of Geometallurgy at the Geological Survey of Finland, Dr. Simon Michaux. Why do humans ignore important mineral and material limits that will affect human futures?  Dr. Michaux reveals how we are “minerals blind” — and the consequences of this myopia. To shed light on the effects of our minerals blindness, Dr. Michaux explores the disconnect between experts in renewable energy and economic and government leaders. Dr. Michaux offers individual strategies for us to overcome our energy and minerals blindness. How can we learn to adapt in order to overcome the coming challenges? About Simon Michaux: Dr. Simon Michaux is an Associate Professor of Geometallurgy at the Geological Survey of Finland. He has a PhD in mining engineering. Dr. Michaux’s long-term work is on societal transformation toward a circular economy. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/19-simon-michaux
5/18/20221 hour, 19 minutes, 20 seconds
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Thomas Murphy: “Physics and Planetary Ambitions”

On this episode, we meet with Professor of Physics at UCSD and the Associate Director of CASS, the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences, Tom Murphy. Murphy shows us how continued growth and energy use is an impossibility if continued at our current trajectory. How does physics constrain our planetary ambitions? Murphy helps us do the math. To help us align with a post-growth trajectory, Murphy offers suggestions for how humans can begin to treat nature as well as we treat ourselves — and why we must care about the future in order to create a brighter one. About Thomas Murphy Thomas Murphy is a Professor in the Physics Department at UCSD, the Associate Director of CASS, the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences, and is the author of Energy and Human Ambitions on a Finite Planet. From 2003–2020, Murphy led the APOLLO project as an ultra-precise test of General Relativity using the technique of lunar laser ranging. Professor Murphy’s interests are transitioning to quantitative assessment of the challenges associated with long-term human success on a finite planet. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/18-tom-murphy
5/11/20221 hour, 9 minutes, 4 seconds
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Chuck Watson: “Nuclear War - All the Questions You Were Afraid to Ask”

Show Summary: On this episode, we meet again with risk expert Chuck Watson.  How can we avoid a nuclear conflict? Watson gives a primer on how to reduce the risk of nuclear conflict and the measures we can take to mitigate nuclear exchange as individuals, a nation, and the world. Further, Watson explains the potential pathways to nuclear escalation. This episode was recorded thanks to the valuable feedback from listeners of The Great Simplification, who expressed a desire to dive deeper into this topic. About Chuck Watson: Chuck Watson is the founder and Director of Research and Development of Enki Holdings, LLC, which designs computer models for phenomena ranging from tropical cyclones (hurricanes) and other weather phenomena, earthquakes, and tsunamis, as well as anthropogenic hazards such as industrial accidents, terrorism, and weapons of mass destruction   Enki’s models and their outputs are used by governments around the world such as the US Government (NASA, Defense Department, State Department, EPA), the States of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Hawaii, as well as the insurance industry and UN Agencies. Chuck has been a frequent guest on NPR, CNBC, and Bloomberg News providing expert perspectives on the economic impacts of natural and anthropogenic hazards.   For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/17-chuck-watson-nuclear-war
5/4/20221 hour, 38 minutes, 59 seconds
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Tristan Harris: “Social Media: Bringing the Ring to Mordor”

On this episode, we meet with Co-Founder of the Center for Humane Technology and co-host of Your Undivided Attention Podcast, Tristan Harris. Harris explores the intersection of society and social media technology. How does modern social media pose an existential risk for society? How can we create a healthier, sustainable relationship between our social technology and culture? Harris explains how privacy, liability, and antitrust could contribute to a healthier tech ecosystem. Why is it not enough to reduce the harm of technology, and how can we use technology to strengthen democracy? About Tristan Harris: Tristan Harris has spent his career studying how today’s major technology platforms have increasingly become the social fabric by which we live and think, wielding dangerous power over our ability to make sense of the world. Along with Aza Raksin, he is the Co-Host of “Your Undivided Attention,” consistently among the top ten technology podcasts on Apple Podcasts, which explores how social media’s race for attention is destabilizing society and the vital insights we need to envision solutions. Tristan was also the primary subject of the acclaimed Netflix documentary, “The Social Dilemma,” which unveiled the hidden machinations behind social media. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/16-tristan-harris
4/27/20221 hour, 21 minutes, 48 seconds
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Daniel Pauly: "Peak Fish and Other Ocean Realities"

On this episode, we meet with Professor at the University of British Columbia and Founder of Sea Around Us, Dr. Daniel Pauly. Dr. Pauly shares the role warming sea water plays in fish migration. How do warming temperatures affect water oxygen levels and fish behavior? Dr. Pauly explains that the world has passed peak fish, and why contemporary metrics do not always paint a complete picture of our dire situation. About Daniel Pauly Dr. Daniel Pauly is a Killam Professor at the University of British Columbia, the Founder of the Sea Around Us, and author of more than a dozen books. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/15-daniel-pauly
4/20/20221 hour, 1 minute, 44 seconds
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John Gowdy: “Superorganisms, Crazy Ants, and Fire Apes, Oh My!"

On this episode, we meet with Ecological Economist, John Gowdy. Gowdy explores the revolution in biology and its significance in society. How do different cultures manifest human nature? What role has agriculture, and specific crops, played in how societies developed? Further, Gowdy discusses the relationship between capitalism, surplus, and The Superorganism. Does human agency matter to the Superorganism? What role do blind evolutionary mechanisms play in the development of our society? About John Gowdy: John M. Gowdy is Professor of Economics and Professor of Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. He is the recipient of the Herman Daly Award for contributions to ecological economics. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/14-john-gowdy
4/13/20221 hour, 20 minutes, 23 seconds
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Jamie Wheal: “Neuro-anthropology and Culture Architecture”

On this episode, we meet with Executive Director of the Flow Genome Project, Jamie Wheal. Jamie discusses the evolutionary importance of music as a coping mechanism, how the United States’ university system fails to prepare students for the crises of the coming decades, and how to find hope in this time of tumult.  About Jamie Wheal: Jamie Wheal is the Executive Director of Flow Genome Project. His work ranges from Fortune 500 companies, leading business schools, Young Presidents' Organization (YPO), to Red Bull and its stable of world-class athletes. He combines a background in expeditionary leadership, wilderness medicine and surf rescue, with over a decade advising high-growth companies on strategy, execution and leadership. He is a sought-after speaker, presenting to diverse and high-performing communities such as YPO, Summit Series, MaiTai Global, TEDx, and the Advertising Research Foundation. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/13-jamie-wheal
4/6/20221 hour, 21 minutes, 34 seconds
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Dennis Meadows: “Limits to Growth turns 50 - Checking In”

On this episode, we meet with Professor Emeritus of Systems Management and author, Dennis Meadows. Meadows revisits Limits to Growth 50 years after it was published.  Looking back, how does Meadows view the book? How much of the response to his description of overshoot was based in fear? Meadows offers advice to current leaders based on the models he developed in Limits to Growth. Why is it important to develop success indicators, and how can they be clearly communicated to the public?  Further, Meadows explores the available leverage points to avoid the worst types of collapse at our current stage of crises.  About Dennis Meadows: Dennis Meadows is the Emeritus Professor of Systems Management at MIT and the co-author of Limits to Growth and Beyond the Limits.  He has received numerous awards and is the recipient of four honorary doctorates for his contributions to environmental education. He co-authored the pioneering 1972 book The Limits to Growth, which analyzed the long-term consequences of unconstrained resource consumption driven by population and economic growth on a finite planet. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/12-dennis-meadows
3/30/20221 hour, 19 minutes, 35 seconds
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Rex Weyler: "Crisis in the Ecology Movement"

On this episode, we meet with ecologist, writer, and Greenpeace cofounder, Rex Weyler. Weyler explains how the ecology movement was hijacked by the environmental movement. How is climate change one of many issues that has a root cause of overshoot?  Weyler also explores the dangers of relying on hope as a strategy.  Why must we be careful about virtual signaling in the environmental movement, and how can we “sharpen the sword” as individuals? About Rex Weyler Rex Weyler is a writer and ecologist. His books include Blood of the Land, a history of indigenous American nations, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; Greenpeace: The Inside Story, a finalist for the BC Book Award and the Shaughnessy-Cohen Award for Political Writing; and The Jesus Sayings, a deconstruction of first century history, a finalist for the BC Book Award.  In the 1970s, Weyler was a cofounder of Greenpeace International and editor of the Greenpeace Chronicles. He served on campaigns to preserve rivers and forests, and to stop whaling, sealing, and toxic dumping.  He currently posts the “Deep Green” column at the Greenpeace International website. He lives on Cortes Island in British Columbia, with his wife, artist Lisa Gibbons. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/rex-weyler
3/22/20221 hour, 30 minutes, 27 seconds
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Are Americans Willing to Risk Nuclear War? | Frankly #2

An important dialogue with Chuck Watson on: 1) Why the U.S. public is naïve about what nuclear war means 2) The mechanics on how nuclear war with Russia could actually happen 3) How bad would nuclear war short and long term effects be? For Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/frankly-02-are-americans-willing-to-risk-nuclear-war
3/18/202230 minutes, 8 seconds
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Nora Bateson: "Complexity Between The Lines"

On this episode, we meet with award-winning filmmaker, writer, educator, and President of the International Bateson Institute, Nora Bateson. Nora brings us beyond the descriptions of the physical science that underpins our predicament to the nuance and perception of the complexity that we live within. How can we improve our relationships with others, as well as the broader world? Nora helps us understand how systems dynamics inform our predicament. How does an ecosystem develop and mature through mutual learning? What are ways we can apply this thinking to our profit-focused superstructure? About Nora Bateson Nora Bateson is an award-winning filmmaker, writer and educator, as well as President of the International Bateson Institute, based in Sweden. Her work asks the question “How can we  improve our perception of the complexity we live within, so we may improve our interaction with the world?” An international lecturer, researcher and writer, Nora wrote, directed and produced the award-winning documentary, An Ecology of Mind, a portrait of her father, Gregory Bateson. Her work brings the fields of biology, cognition, art, anthropology, psychology, and information technology together into a study of the patterns in ecology of living systems. Her book, Small Arcs of Larger Circles, released by Triarchy Press, UK, 2016 is a revolutionary personal approach to the study of systems and complexity. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/10-nora-bateson
3/16/20221 hour, 24 minutes, 24 seconds
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What War in Ukraine means for Energy & Money | Frankly #1

In addition to regular Wednesday longform podcasts, this video is #1 of new series of short takes, "Frankly" which are framings and context on current world events. Today, I riff on longer term implications of Ukraine/Russia especially with energy and global systems. For Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/frankly-original/frankly-1-what-war-in-the-ukraine-means-for-energy-and-money
3/12/202218 minutes, 33 seconds
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The Human Superorganism - TGS Animated Series Preview

The second part of The Great Simplification Animated Series is now available! Visit http://thegreatsimplification.com to view now.
3/9/20222 minutes
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Paul Ehrlich: “Was the Population Bomb Defused?”

On this episode, we meet with Professor Emeritus of Population Studies at Stanford University and author of The Population Bomb, Paul Ehrlich.   Ehrlich discusses what has happened with the human population situation in the decades since he published The Population Bomb. Why has humanity not responded to our long-term sustainability challenges? How would Ehrlich frame contemporary discussions about population? In a wide-ranging conversation spanning stories about his appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson to how the environmental movement merged with corporate greenwashing, Ehrlich provides colorful and interesting commentary on the human predicament. About Paul Ehrlich Paul Ehrlich is the Bing Professor Emeritus of Population Studies at Stanford University and author of many books, including The Population Bomb. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/09-paul-ehrlich
3/2/20221 hour, 16 minutes, 15 seconds
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Peter Ward: “Oceans - What’s the Worst that Can Happen?”

On this episode, we meet with author and paleobiologist Peter Ward. Ward helps us catalogue the various risks facing Earth’s oceans, how the Atlantic Ocean’s currents are slowing due to warming, what happened in Earths history when ocean currents stopped, and why a reduction in elephant poaching is contributing to the destruction of coral reefs. About Peter Ward: Peter Ward is a Professor of Biology and Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington. He is author of over a dozen books on Earth's natural history including On Methuselah's Trail: Living Fossils and the Great Extinctions; Under a Green Sky; and The Medea Hypothesis, 2009, (listed by the New York Times as one of the “100 most important ideas of 2009”). Ward gave a TED talk in 2008 about mass extinctions. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/08-peter-ward
2/23/20221 hour, 15 minutes, 7 seconds
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Josh Farley: "The Past, Present, and Future of Human Cooperation"

On this episode we meet with ecological economist and Professor in Community Development & Applied Economics and Public Administration, Josh Farley.  Farley explores the importance of human cooperation in a modern superstructure that incentivizes competition. What role will cooperation play in helping us solve our largest existential problems? Farley explains the critical social dilemma humans face: How can we grapple with the paradox that individuals are better served to act selfishly, but cooperation among individuals makes everyone better off? Additionally, Professor Farley helps us distinguish the difference between how a system works, and how we can understand and participate in changing a system. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/07-josh-farley
2/16/20221 hour, 16 minutes, 22 seconds
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Energy Blind - TGS Animated Series Preview

The first part of The Great Simplification's animated series is now available! Visit thegreatsimplification.com to view now.  
2/9/20221 minute, 4 seconds
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Herman Daly: "Toward an Ecological Economics”

On this episode, we meet with ecological economist and professor emeritus at the University of Maryland, Herman Daly. Daly discusses the biophysical underpinnings of human economies, and how a social system that is more tethered to our ecological reality might come into being. Daly explains how the transformation from classical economics to neoclassical economics created an understanding of the world that prioritized utility and money above all else. How did neoclassical economics contribute to our current predicament? Further, Daly explores what he believes to be the best-case scenario humans face in the next decade. About Herman Daly Herman Daly is Professor Emeritus of economics at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy, former senior economist at the World Bank, and a founder of the field of ecological economics. He is the author of For The Common Good, Valuing the Earth, the textbook Ecological Economics, and many other books, essays, and academic papers For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/06-herman-daly
2/2/20221 hour, 6 minutes, 57 seconds
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Daniel Schmachtenberger: “Bend Not Break Part 1: Energy Blindness”

On this episode we meet with founding member of The Consilience Project, Daniel Schmachtenberger. In the first of a five-part series, Nate and Daniel outline the macro risks and pathways for civilization to 'bend' and avoid 'breaking' in coming decades. In the Part 1 of 5 conversation, Schmachtenberger flips the script to interview Nate about the urgent problems his research and work on energy, money, and growth confront. Nate explains how we can come to understand energy blindness and the overlooked role of oil in consumption, production, and progress since the Industrial Revolution. The dominant narrative of human progress prioritizes capital and labor — but the omission of energy and materials leaves out a key component to understanding how the modern human ecosystem functions. Further, Nate discusses how a growth economy will inevitably lead to increased energy production and consumption, and how new energy technologies like renewables end up creating more energy output, not less. Putting everything together, in outsourcing our decisions and planning to a market dependent on growth, we have not so metaphorically become an energy hungry superorganism. Finally, Daniel and Nate look forward to answering: What are ways for us to prepare for a post-growth economy? How can we stay balanced in the face of existential crises? What type of policy can help shape a future that is yet to arrive, and how can we get ahead? About Daniel Schmachtenberger Daniel Schmachtenberger is a founding member of The Consilience Project, aimed at improving public sensemaking and dialogue.  The throughline of his interests has to do with ways of improving the health and development of individuals and society, with a virtuous relationship between the two as a goal. Towards these ends, he’s had particular interest in the topics of catastrophic and existential risk, civilization and institutional decay and collapse as well as progress, collective action problems, social organization theories, and the relevant domains in philosophy and science.  For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/05-daniel-schmactenberger
1/26/20221 hour, 33 minutes, 32 seconds
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Chuck Watson: “From MAD to NUTS: Risk, Nukes, & Climate Change”

On this episode we meet with risk expert and consultant, Chuck Watson.  Watson analyzes the types of risk we face in the modern world - from climate change to nuclear arms - and how the decisions of experts help us from plunging into the abyss. How do humans manage our instincts to over-react to risks we recently experienced with high-consequence, low-probability situations?  Further, Watson explores the role of human agency in risk analysis. How are humans smart enough to build dangerous systems, but unable to manage the same systems?  He looks at how building stronger governance systems will allow humans to overcome our current predicament. About Chuck Watson:Chuck Watson is the founder and Director of Research and Development of Enki Holdings, LLC. Enki’s models and their outputs are used by governments around the world such as the US Government (NASA, Defense Department, State Department, EPA), the States of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Hawaii, as well as the insurance industry and UN Agencies. Chuck has been a frequent guest on NPR, CNBC, and Bloomberg News providing expert perspectives on the economic impacts of natural and anthropogenic hazards.  For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/04-chuckwatson
1/19/20221 hour, 26 minutes, 23 seconds
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Dr. Shanna Swan: “Sperm and Our Future”

On this episode we meet with one of the world’s leading environmental and reproductive epidemiologists, Dr. Shanna Swan. Dr. Swan discusses how chemicals in our environment threaten human hormones, male sperm count,  and ultimately, human reproduction. How do endocrine-disrupting hormones disrupt pregnancy? Further, she explains “The 1% Effect,” which accounts for the 1 percent annual decrease in human fertility and related functions. To combat the urgent threats facing human reproduction, Dr. Swan offers recommendations about how we can avoid harmful chemicals — and live healthier lives. About Shanna Swan Shanna H. Swan, Ph.D., is one of the world’s leading environmental and reproductive epidemiologists. She is Professor of Environmental Medicine and Public Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City where is also a member of the Transdisciplinary Center on Early Environmental Exposures and the Mindich Child Health and Development Institute. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/02-shannaswan
1/12/202243 minutes, 3 seconds
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Richard Gephardt: "Democracy: Old School vs New Reality"

On this episode we welcome the Honorable Richard A. Gephardt to explore the challenges and opportunities present in our modern democracy. In his first-ever podcast appearance, Leader Gephardt details what he believes to be the primary challenges facing the United States today. He explains the conflict of interest between the business plans of social media platforms, civil society, and functioning democracy. He contrasts 9/11 and the Iraq war to current polarization and Jan 6 episode, as well as discusses what he’s doing to help work toward solutions. Gephardt additionally explains the importance of civic engagement, the importance of public service, and why he feels encouraged by the care that younger generations display for climate change and democracy. About Richard Gephardt Richard Gephardt is an attorney, author, lobbyist, and politician who served served 28 years in the United States House of Representatives. He is the President and CEO of the Gephardt Group, where he works to inspire a new understanding of citizenship based on activism to bring about economic, social, and political change. Gephardt previously served as the United States House Majority Leader (1989-95) and House Minority Leader (1995-2003). He is the author of three books, including An Even Better Place and The American Immigrant: The Outsiders. For Show Notes and Transcript visit: https://www.thegreatsimplification.com/episode/01-dickgephardt
1/12/20221 hour, 5 minutes, 25 seconds
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The Great Simplification with Nate Hagens is a podcast that explores money, energy, economy, and the environment with world experts and leaders to understand how everything fits together, and where we go from here. As we reach peak fossil fuel use, we’ll need to adapt new, simpler ways of living. The Great Simplification with Nate Hagens explores the problems facing humans, helps us understand how we got here, and looks ahead to where we go. Featuring conversations with world-class experts including doctors, economists, and scientists. Find out more: http://thegreatsimplification.com
1/10/202245 seconds