Dawn Allen is a freelance writer and editor who is passionate about sustainability, political economy, gardening, traditional craftwork, and simple living. She and her husband are currently renovating a rural homestead in southeastern Michigan.

The Gift of the Migrant Workers

Our two main presidential candidates (and their political tribes) have very different visions for the future of immigration in the United States. Clinton favors a path to citizenship, while the more xenophobic Trump claims he’ll build a giant wall. Both sides fail to perceive why we have a schizophrenic situation where migrant workers are simultaneously

War is Over, If We Narrowly Define It

An article by Angus Hervey in Medium recently made the bold claim that war is on the decline throughout the globe. A ceasefire between the Colombian government and rebel groups meant that war is over in the Western hemisphere, leaving less than 1 in 6 global citizens in war-torn areas, mostly in an arc of

Amusement Rides Are Scarier Than Clowns

People go to amusement parks and county fairs to experience harmless thrills in relative safety, but several recent news items have left me even less likely to want to go to the carnival the next time it rolls into town. These three high profile accidents make it seem that amusement rides are scarier than clowns, which is

The Optimal Amount of Waste

If you’re a gardener, you know the struggle against weeds taking over your plot. Weeds take space and resources away from the plants you’re trying to grow, so each one extracts a cost in terms of garden productivity. If asked what the optimal number of weeds in their garden would be, most gardeners would probably

What is education for?

Education has been a hot-button issue lately, mostly because of the varying demands placed upon the educational system by different factions. Should schooling be about acquiring job skills needed in an increasingly technology-based economy? Or is education more about becoming a more well-rounded individual who is able to draw upon a greater base of knowledge

When Satan is the Good Guy

The Satanists are coming! Some schools in Florida will soon be hosting an after school program run by volunteers from the Satanic Temple. Of course, the good people of Florida are all in a tizzy, what with the Prince of Darkness being associated with evil and mayhem, but there are times when Satan is the

Planned Obsolescence: The Way Back

Recently, I posted about the problem of planned obsolescence, and how industry profits mightily by creating products with shorter than necessary lifespans in order to drum up repeat business. On one hand, this practice creates jobs for people who keep producing the items people need as the old ones wear out. On the other hand,

Planned Obsolescence: A double-edged sword

The modern consumer economy is a thing of wonder, isn’t it? We don’t just have iPhones, we have brand new models of iPhones every couple years. We don’t just have two linen shirts to wear anymore, we have new lines of fashion twice (or more) annually and most clothes are so cheap, it doesn’t matter

Dicamba Soy: The Problem is the Solution

Monsanto’s Round-Up Ready GMO soybeans are facing a classic Red Queen race. Originally modified to include a gene that renders the soybeans resistant to the herbicide glyphosate, enabling farmers who planted them to spray their fields with Monsanto’s Round-Up without harming their crop, they are becoming less useful to farmers because the weeds that the

We’re Running Out of Buffer

A given population, whether it is the yeast in a homebrewer’s carboy or nation-state of people, will tend to expand to fit or exceed the size of the available resource base. If a population exceeds the budget of resources that can be reasonably accessed, the inevitable result is suffering, as the overshoot resolves itself. (In