Dr. Wes Jackson is the founder and director of The Land Institute, a non-profit dedicated to rethinking agricultural practice and creating new farming systems which result in conservation and ecosystem resilience. Wes’s conversation begins with the soil and rapidly grows to address how we make choices about the massively complex and intertwined systems we live within–there is definitely a hint of resonance between Wes Jackson, Timothy Morton, and David Korten. The problem of scientific fundamentalism makes an extended appearance and Wes presents a thorough critique of many of the ideas put forth by Robert Zubrin, Max More, Ariel Waldman and, perhaps to a lesser extent, Colin Camerer. Hubris, creativity, limits, and the fallacy of unlimited growth are also major themes in our conversation. In fact, nearly everything we have discussed in this project connects to to Wes Jackson’s conversation, whether explicitly or implicitly, and this episode should give you a nice jolt of systems thinking.
Also, I drop a Radiolab reference when Wes mentions the Haber-Bosch process. If you’re interested in hearing more about Haber-Bosch, you can listen to their episode here.
Artwork by Eleanor Davis.