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Overviews of the year

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World Press Photo. Quote Of The Year. And The Next. I came upon this quote a few weeks ago in an interview that Der Spiegel had with Dennis Meadows, co-author of the Limits to Growth report published by the Club of Rome 40 years ago.

Quote Of The Year. And The Next.

Yes, the report that has been much maligned and later largely rehabilitated. But that's not my topic here, and neither is Meadows himself. It's the quote, and it pretty much hasn’t left me alone since I read it. Here's the short version: [..] … we are going to evolve through crisis, not through proactive change. And here it is in its context: 'Limits to Growth' Author Dennis Meadows 'Humanity Is Still on the Way to Destroying Itself' SPIEGEL ONLINE: Professor Meadows, 40 years ago you published "The Limits to Growth" together with your wife and colleagues, a book that made you the intellectual father of the environmental movement. I don't really think that Dennis Meadows understands how true that is. This offers a nearly completely ignored insight into the way we deal with problems. It's quite simple, isn't it? The good, hard spanking of 2012. What a year it was.

The good, hard spanking of 2012

Did we learn anything? How about… It’s OK to love it Bet on the Nazi socialist Kenyan Is it not refreshing? Is it not all kinds of wonderful to be reminded that all the spittle-flecked hate and hissing resentment in the world still can’t defeat intelligence, wisdom, flawed but honest integrity? Behold: The GOP’s relentless, shameless four-year onslaught of racism, birtherism, isolationism and gross antipathy, during which they called the president everything from a communist to a Nazi to a fundamentalist Muslim, failed to rally sufficient numbers of the undereducated and the paranoid to nosedive the nation back into a sinkhole of conservative bile. White men can’t jump Did you feel it?

Global warming gives you the finger The adorably ignorant cluster of global-warming deniers is now even tinier, more ignorant, and less worth giving a moment’s irritated glance than ever. Guns hate everyone We are the most violence-obsessed first-world nation on earth. 2012: A year of activism, from the Maple Spring to Idle No More. Change the conversation, support today.

2012: A year of activism, from the Maple Spring to Idle No More

I think we will look back at 2012 as the year that everything changed. The year began with what became a powerful strike of Quebec students against an intransigent government and ended with an historic movement of Indigenous peoples across the country declaring they will be Idle No More. It was a year of activism. The Quebec student strike, and related Casseroles demonstrations in neighborhoods and towns across Quebec, brought down the tone-deaf government of Jean Charest.

I called this movement Occupy 2.0 because like Occupy democratic assemblies were at the centre of their success and mobilization but they also used more traditional community organizing techniques to build support among students and had a visible, sophisticated and accountable leadership. In B.C., a coalition of First Nations and environmental justice groups joined by activists from Occupy Vancouver built a broad movement called Defend Our Coasts. The Sky's the Limit: The Demanding Gifts of 2012. (Photo: paolosdala)Truthout combats corporatization by bringing you trustworthy news: click here to join the effort.

The Sky's the Limit: The Demanding Gifts of 2012

As this wild year comes to an end, we return to the season of gifts. Here’s the gift you’re not going to get soon: any conventional version of Paradise. You know, the place where nothing much happens and nothing is demanded of you. The gifts you’ve already been given in 2012 include a struggle over the fate of the Earth. This is probably not exactly what you asked for, and I wish it were otherwise -- but to do good work, to be necessary, to have something to give: these are the true gifts. Think of 2013 as the Year Zero in the battle over climate change, one in which we are going to have to win big, or lose bigger. The Earth we evolved to inhabit is turning into something more turbulent and unreliable at a pace too fast for most living things to adapt to. 2013: The Space between Stories.

A German translation, a Dutch translation, as well as a Portuguese translation of this essay are also available.

2013: The Space between Stories

Every culture has a Story of the People to give meaning to the world. Part conscious and part unconscious, it consists of a matrix of agreements, narratives, and symbols that tell us why we are here, where we are headed, what is important, and even what is real. I think we are entering a new phase in the dissolution of our Story of the People, and therefore, with some lag time, of the edifice of civilization built on top of it. Sometimes I feel intense nostalgia for the cultural mythology of my youth, a world in which there was nothing wrong with soda pop, in which the Superbowl was important, in which the world’s greatest democracy was bringing democracy to the world, in which science was going to make life better and better.

Life made sense. From my vantage point, the basic premises of this story seemed unquestionable. Nothing was done. We do not have a new story yet.