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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 the…
 
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 …
 
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 …
 
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. …
 
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…
 
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 i…
 
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 …
 
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. …
 
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…
 
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 compe…
 
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 …
 
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 p…
 
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 c…
 
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 …
 
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 th…
 
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 ‘winn…
 
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…
 
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…
 
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 …
 
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 thi…
 
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 re…
 
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 …
 
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 …
 
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 …
 
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…
 
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