This lecture is my most extensive and detailed examination of the ideas and issues I'm now pursuing through The Green Interview. Although it's ten years old, most of what it says is still valid and important. It was delivered at the University of British Columbia on March 25, 2000.
You can stream or download an audio recording of the lecture here:
Energy, Environment and the Left
Thank you. I am very happy to be here tonight, and for several reasons.
First, this university is my alma mater -- and the alma mater of my father, both my brothers, my eldest son, and my wife. In addition, my father, my son and I have all taught here. I even think I have a dim childhood memory of my parents going out to attend lectures at the Vancouver Institute. My mother would certainly have been shocked at the notion that her rebellious, duck- tailed, leather-jacketted, hot-rodding eldest son might eventually speak under these august auspices. Once she recovered, she would have been very pleased.
Second, most of the speakers in lecture series like this one hold impressive positions in academic life, finance, politics, and the professions; very few are self-employed lowlifes such as freelance writers. I have twice resigned tenured university positions to live in a tiny Cape Breton village and take up or resume the trade of freelance writing. Such a move is the status equivalent of bungee-jumping. Your career trajectory is determined by gravity. You sink from the view of polite society in a flash, bouncing just before you splash on the pavement. Yesterday you were a distinguished professor. Today you're a sweaty marginal hack, a coarse and dissolute denizen of Grub Street who would hardly be invited to speak in venues like this one. I'm grateful to be an exception.