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Erik Assadourian
Erik Assadourian

Erik Assadourian is a sustainability researcher, an ecophilosopher, and director of the Gaian Way.

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The Parable of the Humane Philanthropist

Does throwing starfish, or dead fish, back into the sea make any difference?

You have probably heard a variation of the story, “The Star Thrower,” about a man who comes across a young girl walking along a beach throwing starfish back into the sea. In one version he says:  “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t […]

By Erik Assadourian Posted in Reflection, Social Change on January 24, 2023 Continue reading
Should climate denial be illegal?

It's time to stop those who are intentionally sowing confusion about the 'unequivocal' human causes of this crisis

This might not surprise many of you, but I want to talk about the new IPCC climate report. What might surprise you is that I want to talk only about one word in the report: “unequivocal.” Ok, two more as well: “virtually certain,” which is scientific shorthand for a 99-100% certainly level (one rarely used by […]

By Erik Assadourian Posted in Climate Change on August 17, 2021 Continue reading
Should we all just ‘lie flat?’

Lie flat (or tang ping) essentially means to “reject grueling careers for a ‘low-desire life.’”

Recently I read about the new “lie flat” movement in China. Lie flat (or tang ping) essentially means to “reject grueling careers for a ‘low-desire life.’” It sounds very similar to the voluntary simplicity movement of the 1970s and ‘80s* (work less, earn less, want less), and is being adopted especially by young Chinese burnt out from years […]

By Erik Assadourian Posted in Reflection on July 13, 2021 Continue reading
Back To Normal? Is That What We Really Want?

Why we shouldn't try to forget 2020 and pretend it never happened

Here’s the thing: there’s a COVID pandemic raging around the world, with more than half a million new cases every day (and someone dying from COVID every 7.2 seconds). But in the US, we’re suddenly in a happy little bubble where infections have fallen and people are heading to restaurants, gyms, and organizing their summer travel plans. […]

By Erik Assadourian Posted in Covid-19, Health on June 8, 2021 Continue reading
Aligning Ourselves with the Monthly Moon Cycle

The intimate relationship between our Earth's satellite and our organism

As I write this, the waxing moon is in its gibbous phase—heading toward a full moon in less than a week. For the vast majority of my life, I had no idea what phase the moon was in (and I still need help of a calendar). I didn’t know what the terms meant, I didn’t […]

By Erik Assadourian Posted in Esperanza Project, Health, Self-Care on May 21, 2021 Continue reading
Dental Floss, Radium Poisoning and the Green New Deal

Exploring the toxic parallels of our destructive economic system

How much do you know about the radioactive history of the radium industry? I recently watched the Radium Girls on Netflix, which reminded me of the brutal abuses suffered by radium workers (often women). Radium Girls were the young women who painted luminous watch faces with radium paint and were taught by their supervisors to […]

By Erik Assadourian Posted in Activism, Documentary Film on April 5, 2021 Continue reading
Monkeys Reaching for the Moon: An Environmental Parable for Our Times

Are we reaching for the illusion of sustainability rather than sustainability itself?

A few months ago my karate sensei shared with his students the Zen story of The Monkeys Reaching for the Moon. If you haven’t heard it, there are many versions. Here’s mine:

By Erik Assadourian Posted in Environment on March 19, 2021 Continue reading
May 13th, a Day to Do Nothing for the Climate

The climate needs us to do more nothing—as it is our pursuit of growth and more, more, more (whether profit, stuff, or children) that is at the heart of our sustainability crisis.

By Erik Assadourian Posted in Climate Change, Environment, Self-Care on February 3, 2021 Continue reading
Will the COVID vaccine lead to a boom in consumerism?

Or will it open the way for a new wave of climate activism?

2020 was a year lived in fear—fear of the surprise arrival of a novel coronavirus, of not understanding it, of getting it, of watching a loved one get it—never being sure if they’d survive. Now, with the vaccine being distributed (6.7 million doses have been given in the US as of 01/08/21), I find myself, […]

By Erik Assadourian Posted in Climate Change on January 12, 2021 Continue reading
The Human Swarm

Taking some lessons from David Quammen's 'Spillover' — and a plague of locusts

We’re in an outbreak currently. But I don’t mean the COVID pandemic. It turns out that outbreak has a second definition: it means when populations grow dramatically large, beyond their carrying capacities. As David Quammen details in his book Spillover, disease outbreaks can be considered “as a subset” in this broader category. In Spillover, Quammen goes into […]

By Erik Assadourian Posted in Overpopulation on December 11, 2020 Continue reading
The Parable of the Three Burglars

A story of a monk who understands limits

Erik Assadourian is a writer who describes himself as a “sustainability researcher, ecophilosopher, servant of Gaia, and father of one.” A characteristically zen description for someone who, as a Senior Fellow at the now-dormant Worldwatch Institute and founder of The Gaian Way, has been trying to come to terms with the collapse that is unfolding […]

By Erik Assadourian Posted in Esperanza Project, Sustainability on November 19, 2020 Continue reading

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