Cover art for podcast Crazy Town

Crazy Town

80 EpisodesProduced by Post Carbon Institute: Sustainability, Climate, Collapse, and Dark HumorWebsite

With equal parts humor and in-depth analysis, Asher, Rob, and Jason safeguard their sanity while probing crazy-making topics like climate change, overshoot, runaway capitalism, and why we’re all deluding ourselves.

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Buying and Dying: How Online Shopping Grew from a Small Weed Deal into a Global Environmental and Societal Disaster

June 29th, 2022

59:51

Talk about cascading consequences: when a few nerds wanted to get high and orchestrated a small exchange of cannabis, they kicked off the age of …

Greed over Need: Why Neoliberalism Sucks and How It Sabotages Community

June 22nd, 2022

1:13:58

Free trade, private property, and limited government – these policies might seem well-intentioned and even benign. But when a couple of colluding, …

Chillin' and Killin': How Air Conditioning Has Altered Human Behavior and the Environment

June 15th, 2022

1:07:32

For such tame technology, air conditioning really packs a punch when it comes to enabling environmental obscenities, indefensible infrastructure, and …

Throwing Superman through a Cigarette Truck: The Insidious Manipulation of Advertising

June 8th, 2022

57:18

Are shameless product placements keeping you from enjoying your movie-viewing experience? Have you ever felt assaulted by pop-up ads and sidebars …

Highway to Hell: How Road Infrastructure Traps Us in an Unsustainable Nightmare

June 1st, 2022

1:03:25

Don't you wish we could power daily life on road rage, frustration, and righteous indignation? If that were possible, the U.S. highway system would …

Hippos in the Bayou: Human Hubris and the Ecological Mayhem of Introduced Species

May 25th, 2022

52:45

What kind of thinking leads to the unleashing of exotic species on unsuspecting ecosystems? Hint: it's certainly not systems thinking or critical …

The Stopwatch of Doom: How the Cult of Productivity Torpedoes Sustainability and Equity

May 18th, 2022

53:53

Welcome to the dehumanizing world of scientific management, where business gurus and middle managers view workers as resources, and where a cult-like …

It’s the End of the World’s Fair as We Know It: Why Technology Won’t Save Us

May 11th, 2022

45:04

Back in the day, the World's Fair was a global showcase of innovation and a peerless cultural event where visitors envisioned a neon future filled …

Colonizing the Sky: The Untold Environmental Toll of Skyscrapers

May 4th, 2022

1:02:57

Skyscrapers have sprouted like mushrooms in our urban landscapes. But in an environmentally depleted, energy-pinched era, we need to take a closer look at the downsides of movin' on up to the sky. We especially need to …

The Bright Side Through Rose-Tinted Glasses: How Positive Thinking Undermines Sustainability

April 27th, 2022

1:03:55

Welcome to the seductive, but regrettable world of unquestioned positive thinking, where faith healers, BS slingers, pseudoscientists, and get-rich-quick schemers all peddle the same basic message: think positively, and …

Lord of the Swans: The Tragedy of the Enclosure of the Commons

April 20th, 2022

52:42

The “tragedy of the commons” is an idea that has so thoroughly seeped into culture and law that it seems normal for people and corporations to own …

Bonus: The Legal Legacy of Colonization with Sherri Mitchell

April 13th, 2022

33:55

Indigenous rights lawyer, leader, and author Sherri Mitchell describes how the Christian Doctrines of Discovery made their way from 15th-century European religious leaders into the U.S. legal system. She elaborates on …

A Load of Papal Bull: Greenlighting Colonization and the Mindset of Extraction

April 6th, 2022

49:12

In 1493 the most corrupt (and orgy-throwing) pope of all time gave the nod of approval for wealth-seeking Europeans to trample the rest of the world. …

Injustice for All: The Invention of Racism to Justify a Putrid Power Hierarchy

March 30th, 2022

57:17

When greedy power-trippers perpetrate unspeakable acts of exploitation, they often rationalize their loathsome acts after the fact. Such is the case with the Atlantic slave trade. European kidnappers of African people …

Bonus: Patriarchy and the Cultural Roots of the Climate Crisis with Amy Westervelt

March 23rd, 2022

33:46

Investigative journalist and podcaster Amy Westervelt talks with Asher about the cultural roots of the climate crisis. Their wide-ranging …

A Day at the Zoo Is No Walk in the Park: Overexploitation of Animals and Nature

March 16th, 2022

55:53

Michael Jackson had a private zoo with elephants, lions, tigers, orangutans, and more. Michael Vick bankrolled and organized a dog fighting ring. But …

The Taming of the Slough: Humanity's History of Trying to Control Water

March 9th, 2022

48:00

People have a long history of trying to control water, like when the Roman emperor Plumpus Crackus built the Cloaca Maxima (only one of those names …

Bonus: Climate Sabotage with Tim DeChristopher

February 25th, 2022

41:11

Tim DeChristopher gained international attention (and a 21-month prison sentence) for sabotaging an auction of oil and gas leases on public lands …

Season 4 Announcement

February 18th, 2022

2:26

Season 4 of Crazy Town starts March 9, 2022. Climate change, collapse, sarcasm, and silliness are still on the menu, but we've got a new through-line …

Bonus: Stop Saving the Planet with Jenny Price

January 26th, 2022

53:04

Jenny Price has written an environmental manifesto that's angry, funny, and short. In it she asks, "Why should I give a frick about Exxon's …

Bonus: Holiday Guide for the Perplexed

December 15th, 2021

13:36

No need to stress during the holidays! The "sponsors" of Crazy Town have all of your consumerist needs covered. This season you could be walking in a …

Bonus: It's All Paradox with Douglas Rushkoff

November 24th, 2021

1:06:31

Douglas Rushkoff is a prolific author, documentarian, and podcaster with a delightful sense of humor. He joins the gang in Crazy Town to ponder …

Bonus: Oceans of Knowledge with Sylvia Earle

October 27th, 2021

40:49

Sylvia Earle is a legend in ocean exploration and conservation. She comes ashore in Crazy Town to discuss some of her experiences in the depths, the state of the world's oceans and marine biodiversity, the limits to …

Bonus: What Could Possibly Go Right with Vicki Robin

September 29th, 2021

54:55

What happens when two equal and opposite forces collide? It's a tag-team match of empathy and optimism versus existential crisis and poop jokes! In …

Bonus: Galactic-Scale Energy with Tom Murphy

August 25th, 2021

1:02:01

Take it from astrophysicist Tom Murphy. Sure, lightsabers, dilithium crystal warp drives, and Mars colonies are a lot of fun to consider. But a …

Bonus: Climate Craziness with Peter Kalmus

July 28th, 2021

50:13

Peter Kalmus is a climate scientist, activist, and author. He has some gnarly things to say about climate change, extreme weather, and the myth of progress. But Peter gets past the doom and gloom to make positive …

Hidden Drivers Wrap-up, or... the Story of the Throbbing Amygdala

June 23rd, 2021

57:08

It's the end of the world as we know it. OK, maybe not just yet, but it is the end of Crazy Town's third season. If you've been able to look past some of the more absurd parts of the podcast, perhaps you've noticed a …

Maximum Power and Scarcity, or... the Story of the Birdbrained Backhoe on the Beach

June 16th, 2021

55:21

The "maximum power principle" may sound like the doctrine of an evil supervillain, but it actually applies to all living creatures. The principle …

Feedback Loops and Climate Catastrophe, or... the Story of the Baseball Bloodbath

June 9th, 2021

1:02:32

Did you ever think a baseball melee could effectively explain nuanced topics like cybernetics and systems dynamics? This episode examines the …

Net Energy and Sustainability, or… the Story of the Overstuffed Strongman

June 2nd, 2021

1:23:01

All of humanity's feats, whether a record-setting deadlift by the world's strongest man or the construction of a gleaming city by a technologically …

Overproduction of Elites and Political Upheaval, or... the Story of Rich People Doing Stupid Things

May 26th, 2021

1:02:13

Imagine a factory assembly line running at full steam, but instead of spitting out car parts or plastic trinkets, the conveyor belt is loaded down …

Runaway Money and Overconsumption, or... the Story of Monetary Mischief in Madagascar

May 19th, 2021

1:19:40

Way back when money consisted of iron pieces, if you wanted to buy a horse or some spices to season your horse meat, you practically had to carry an …

The Attention Economy and Nature Depletion, or… the Story of Einstein Watching Cat Videos

May 12th, 2021

1:14:57

There's an insidious feature of modern life: as the economy and technology continue to grow, attention becomes ever more scarce. Nowadays footage …

Nature Detachment and Ecocide, or... the Story of the Marauding Mountain Lion

May 5th, 2021

1:26:05

Velcro pants and legs. Booster rockets and spacecraft. Humans and nature. What do these three pairs have in common? They're all things that are detached from one another. That's right, we modern humans seem hellbent on …

The Myth of Progress and Limits to Growth, or... the Story of the World's Largest Shovel

April 28th, 2021

1:20:18

Who in their right mind is against the idea of progress? You'd be hard-pressed to find a candidate for public office with a platform of maintaining the status quo or regressing to days of yore (as bad as the Democratic …

Complexity and Armageddon, or… the Story of the Hemp Microphone

April 21st, 2021

1:13:41

Society has become so complex that all the complexity begets more complexity. And if that’s not complex enough for you, jobs have become so specialized that hardly anyone knows how anything is made or works. Join Jason, …

Discounting the Future and Climate Chaos, or... the Story of the Duelling Economists

April 14th, 2021

1:04:58

An argument between economists is usually as exciting as reading the phone book (what's that?), especially about something as boring-sounding as the discount rate. But it's an argument that underlies how governments and …

Conspiracy Theories and Collapse, or… the Story of UFOs and Free Energy

April 7th, 2021

1:09:02

First things first, we try not to confuse ourselves or our listeners as we distinguish between conspiracy theories and actual conspiracies. Then we unpack a bunch of questions about why people (even some of the smart …

Self Domestication and Overshoot, or… the Story of Foxes and Russian Melodrama

March 31st, 2021

36:12

Self domestication, the process by which humans became a more cooperative and less aggressive species, paradoxically contributes to humanity's overshoot predicament. While trying to wrap their heads around that nugget, …

Fear of Death and Climate Denial, or… the Story of Wolverine and the Screaming Mole of Doom

March 24th, 2021

57:03

What can we learn about death from the X-Men, small screaming rodents, and unwitting college students in psychology experiments? It turns out that …

Crazy Town Trailer

March 17th, 2021

0:57

With equal parts humor and in-depth analysis, Asher, Rob, and Jason safeguard their sanity while probing crazy-making topics like climate change, overshoot, runaway capitalism, and why we’re all deluding ourselves.

Relative Status and Environmental Breakdown, or... the Story of Bartenders and Bird Feathers

March 17th, 2021

47:29

How can the climate disaster and humanity’s overall sustainability crisis be explained by 80s sitcom characters, birdbrained hats from the late …

Cognitive Bias and Global Warming, or... the Story of Cattle Prods and Ice Cream Shops

March 10th, 2021

57:10

If only we were as rational as we think we are! It turns out that we’re all subject to cognitive biases, those errors in thinking that influence how we process the complex information we encounter in daily life. Jason, …

Season 3 Announcement

January 14th, 2021

12:01

Climate change, collapse, sarcasm, and silliness are still on the menu, but we've got a special theme for the third season of Crazy Town: hidden …

Bonus: Green Dreamer with Jason Bradford

September 15th, 2020

38:02

Kamea Chayne is the host of Green Dreamer, an excellent podcast that features interviews with thought leaders about ecology, sustainability, and …

Bonus: The Practical Stoic with Richard Heinberg

August 11th, 2020

1:04:18

Simon Drew is the host of The Practical Stoic, an outstanding podcast that explores philosophy and the human predicament. In this episode, Simon invites Richard Heinberg, senior fellow at the Post Carbon Institute, for …

Bonus: Decolonizing the Mind with Sherri Mitchell

July 14th, 2020

1:33:20

PCI Executive Director Asher Miller speaks with Sherri Mitchell (Weh'na Ha'mu Kwasset) on the long history of colonization and conquest -- upon which …

Tis but a Scratch: the Insanity of Getting the Economy "Back to Normal"

June 18th, 2020

48:28

You know you're in for a bumpy ride when societal institutions start behaving like the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. In one of …

A Time to Speak up, but Also a Time to Shut up: White Privilege and Systemic Racism

June 11th, 2020

21:58

We had planned to record and release our season finale this week, but felt compelled to address the unfolding battle over police violence and …

Mailbag: Dark Humor and Sustainability from Listeners around the World

May 28th, 2020

45:39

Heathens, kooks, and fertilizer for corn and bean fields: these are a few of the names applied to your humble hosts here in Crazy Town. We set ourselves up for abuse in this special mailbag episode, and our listeners …

Breaking the Brady Vase: Coronavirus and Fault Lines in American Politics

May 21st, 2020

53:41

Besides lessons in ethics (and in Asher's case, lessons in the English language), the Brady Bunch offers up a metaphor about the fault lines in …

Poked by a Porcupine: the Politics of Contraction as We Encounter the Limits to Growth

May 14th, 2020

38:42

Before you heap praise on someone's cooking, even for something as delicious as porcupine pot pie, you might want to consider the effects of ego …

Doors and Deck Chairs on the Titanic: Reimagining Lifeboat Ethics in the Age of Overshoot

May 11th, 2020

43:45

As we continue heading toward planetary disaster, like the Titanic steaming toward its rendezvous with a big freakin' iceberg, we might want to figure out how to prepare and manage our lifeboats. In environmentalism’s …

Koala Butts Ablaze: Growth, Conservation, and Collapse in the Adaptive Cycle

May 7th, 2020

45:53

In the disorienting days of corona quarantine, wouldn't it be dope to have a model that can help you make sense of the world? Enter the adaptive …

Announcement: Luciferian Mailbag Call

May 4th, 2020

5:02

We want to hear your Crazy Town stories and questions. Please send email to crazytown@postcarbon.org, and if your message strikes the right chord (kinda like the voicemail we dissect in this announcement), we'll discuss …

Banana Town: Where Michael Moore Stokes Controversy over Renewable Energy

April 30th, 2020

38:01

Paying attention to the buzz around Planet of the Humans, the new film by Michael Moore, is like standing in the middle of a three-ring circus. In ring #1 are the filmmakers, who raise critical questions about how …

Mayor McCheese & Modern Medicine: Squandering Energy and Rethinking Technology

April 23rd, 2020

40:14

Some anthropologists argue that we're living in an anomalous historical period called High Energy Modernity, which will end sooner than we might like …

An Ecofascist and a Social Justice Warrior Walk into a Bar: Extremist Politics and Censorship

April 20th, 2020

27:21

We've seen a frightening rise in recent years of violence and violent rhetoric by so-called ecofascists, who use environmental and resource limits …

Foreclosing on the Frackers: Coronavirus and the Future of Energy

April 16th, 2020

54:37

In the last episode Asher, Rob, and Jason discussed the danger of political denial and delusion limiting how well we respond to the climate crisis. …

Delusion to the Left, Denial to the Right, and the Environmental Reality Caught in the Middle

April 9th, 2020

33:00

How much of a stretch is it to compare autoimmune disease to the politics of climate change? Let's just say your hosts at Crazy Town were able to do …

I Can't Drive 35: the Politics of Rationing and its Potential to Shift the Economy

April 6th, 2020

35:52

If you ask a hundred people what they want to do about climate change or other crises in the age of overshoot, approximately zero of them will enthusiastically call for rationing. But is rationing all that bad? If your …

Coronavirus and the Three Bears: the Right-Sized Crisis for a Transition to Sustainability?

April 2nd, 2020

42:14

First of all, f*ck this virus. We don't want anyone to experience pain and suffering from coronavirus, but maybe there's a lesson to learn. In fact, …

Our Naked Emperors Catch Coronavirus: How to Think about Collapse with Nafeez Ahmed

March 30th, 2020

1:11:55

Asher goes for a deep dive in his interview with investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed about how the novel coronavirus is rippling through the systems that make up modern society. To set the stage, they cover some heady …

Announcement: Keeping up with Coronavirus

March 28th, 2020

1:30

Asher explains the changes to Crazy Town's schedule as we try to keep up with new developments during the coronavirus pandemic.

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The 10,000-Mile Cod, Insane Global Trade, and the Path to a Resilient Local Economy

March 26th, 2020

39:07

What do Scottish cod, rubber duckies, rock phosphate, and shipping containers have in common? They all ride the oceans in really big boats as part of …

The Long and Shart of Extreme Travel as Climate Chaos Reigns

March 19th, 2020

34:44

Coronavirus has put the kibosh on frivolous travel for the moment, but we might want to do some reflecting before returning to business as usual. …

The Adventures of Bill and Lou: the Obscene Politics of Climate Change and Overshoot

March 12th, 2020

37:32

It’s easy to picture a group of social justice and environmental activists gathering in a circle. But these days, instead of holding hands and …

Band-Aid Town and the Psychology of Climate Change

May 30th, 2019

44:01

Pop quiz! A friend of yours has just had an unfortunate chainsaw accident and cut a femoral artery: do you (a) make a tourniquet with your t-shirt, or (b) stick a Band-Aid on the wound? If you picked (b), …

Helicopters and Kick the Can: Money in the Real World of Energy and the Environment

May 23rd, 2019

46:50

Have you ever wondered how dolphins feel about quantitative easing? OK, probably not, but it is important to consider the effects that money and …

My Dinner Is Stuck in Traffic: Fossil Fuels and the Food Transition

May 16th, 2019

37:46

You know what drives Jason really crazy about auto traffic? No, it’s not the 42 hours per year that the average commuter wastes stuck in it or even …

Tackling Inequality in the Economy, One Pair of Lederhosen at a Time

May 9th, 2019

49:32

Chuck Collins joins Asher, Rob, and Jason in Crazy Town to describe his startling journey from undercover trust fund kid to tireless campaigner for …

They'll Think of Somethingisms: Is Technology Really the Answer to Overshoot?

May 2nd, 2019

37:50

The threats of overshoot and climate chaos loom larger by the day, but it’s all going to work out just fine. At least that’s what you hear from starry-eyed techno-optimists, hemp enthusiasts, and the output of …

Mosquito-Flavored Popcorn: When Climate Scientists and Economists Go off the Rails

April 25th, 2019

47:47

Did you know that we can lose half our food supply and it won’t matter? That’s because agriculture is only 3% of GDP, so there’s no need to worry

Deer Sinew and Beetle Biscuits: Raising Kids in the Age of Climate Chaos

April 18th, 2019

46:00

What do we want our children to do in the waning days of the fossil fuel frenzy and the early days of climate chaos? Being a good parent is hard …

Zombies, Magic Rocks, Collapse, and Other Fun Sustainability Stories

April 11th, 2019

38:07

Apocalypse is upon us, at least in movies, television shows, books, and even podcasts. Teen characters in youth literature are more likely to solve …

Solar Freakin' Roadways: How Technological Optimism Undermines Sustainability

April 4th, 2019

49:44

We’re GOING to make the transition to renewable sources of energy. There is no scenario outside the dark mind of Dick Cheney where we continue to use …

My Car Is Bigger than Yours: Consumerist Dreams and Environmental Nightmares

March 28th, 2019

44:43

If you jam on the brakes for just a minute and take a look at cars and car culture, you just might find something stinky (maybe even as stinky as the …

1.21 Jigawatts: Energy Literacy and the Real Scoop on Fossil Fuels

March 21st, 2019

51:44

What would we do without energy? The short answer is, “Nothing, absolutely nothing.” And sadly, most people know next to nothing about energy and its …

Punching Ronnie in the Mouth: Limits to Growth and Economic Lies

March 14th, 2019

40:09

In his 2nd inaugural address, Ronald Reagan said, "There are no limits to growth and human progress when men and women are free to follow their …

Orangutans and Santa Suits: Who's Crazy When It Comes to Climate Change?

March 14th, 2019

40:06

Can you imagine putting on a Santa Claus suit, not to pull a fast one on the kids and deliver Christmas presents, but to protest Big Oil and climate …

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