Stewart Brand: Eco-techno-optimist

Stewart Brand founded the Whole Earth Catalog, which included practical tools for back to the landers as well as tracking the leading edges of technology, including personal computing and the emergence of the internet. In recent years, he has brought an earth-loving engineer’s perspective to environmental issues, releasing a challenging book and championing “de-extinction,” which hopes use biotechnology to bring back extinct species. He is in many ways a prototypical driver, ever focused on getting good at it.

Stewart Brand homepage.

Book: Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto is a 2009 book by Stewart Brand. He sees Earth and people propelled by three transformations: climate change, urbanization, and biotechnology. Brand tackles “touchy issues” like nuclear power, genetic engineering and geoengineering, pushing his progressive readers to rethink some of their dogmas and assumptions.

Video: Four environmental heresies
This talk is a whirlwind tour through Brand’s challenging book, Whole Earth Discipline.

Videos: Brand TED talks
Includes talks on de-extinction, nuclear power, a positive view of squatter cities, and the Long Now.

The Long Now Foundation
The Long Now Foundation was established in 1996 with the intention of countering today’s accelerating culture and short-term thinking by supporting projects that cultivate long-term thinking. The website includes Clock and Library projects, as well as thought provoking articles and (for members) videos of seminars by visiting lecturers. About the Long Now, Brand says, “It would be helpful if humanity got into the habit of thinking of the now not just as next week or next quarter, but the next 10,000 years and the last 10,000 years — basically civilization’s story so far.”

eBook: The SALT Summaries
Here is a collection of Stewart’s email summaries of a hundred Seminars About Long Term Thinking, featuring a who’s who of innovative speakers, including Jared Diamond, Craig Venter, Bruce Sterling, Jill Tarter, Martin Rees, Clay Shirky, Niall Ferguson, and many more.

 

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