Monthly Archives: February 2014

State of Disunion by Sandra M. Gustafson

February 6, 2014
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State of Disunion by Sandra M. Gustafson

For the past several years, we’ve been fortunate enough to have scholar Sandra M. Gustafson contribute a post following Barack Obama’s annual State of the Union addresses, providing thematic context for the president’s speeches and scrutinizing his use of rhetoric within larger social and political frameworks. Read Gustafson’s 2014 post in full after the jump below. *** In previous State of the Union addresses, President Barack Obama has called for a civil and deliberate politics in the wake of the 2011 Tucson shootings; fought for cooperation with Congress in 2012; and exhorted his audience to devote itself in 2013 to engaging in “The hard, often frustrating, but absolutely necessary work of self-government.“ This year’s address was different. After giving credit for the improving economy and communal wellbeing to everyday people—a teacher, an entrepreneur, an autoworker, a farmer—the president emphasized how the failure of Congress to pass needed legislation has inhibited rather than fostered those achievements. He described how, “for several years now, this town has been consumed by a rancorous argument over the proper size of the federal government. It’s an important debate—one that dates back to our very founding. But when that debate prevents us from carrying out even the most . . .

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Consumed: Food for a Finite Planet

February 3, 2014
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Consumed: Food for a Finite Planet

If you reside in the Bay Area: How to Feed the World without Destroying the Planet: Michael Pollan and Sarah Elton, February 4th at 1 PM Food for a Finite Planet: Sarah Elton, in conversation with Nigel Walker, on Wednesday, February 5th at 6 PM *** From Sarah Elton’s Consumed: Food for a Finite Planet  How will we feed ourselves in 2050? In the next forty years, the world’s population is expected to surpass nine billion. At the same time, climate change is transforming life on the planet. According to scientists who look at these big-picture issues, in the space of about one generation, a messy combination of climate, population trends, and environmental change will profoundly affect the world as we know it. We need to figure out how to feed the world, dramatically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and cope with climate change. So how do we best move forward? How do we ensure that everybody has enough to eat as we contend with a new climate? How do we do this without releasing even more greenhouse gases, thereby ruining the environment and further hampering the ability of future generations to feed themselves? These pressing questions are forcing us to make a choice about how . . .

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