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Sustainability Heroes: Michael C. Ruppert, The Whistle Blower

It has all the makings of something you'd only find in the movies: a young LAPD officer uncovering a drug trafficking operation by the CIA, resigning soon after he went on record about what he knew in the wake of intimidation, death threats, and even shooting attempts. But for Michael C. Ruppert, this was his life -- and truth was stranger than fiction.

That was only the first of many whistle-blowing events for the activist, who went on to found From the Wilderness, a newsletter that covered such political issues as peak oil (the time when the world's oil production hits its peak), the dependence of the global economy and financial markets on laundered drug money, and 9/11.

Using his decades of experience as an investigative journalist, late last year he released Confronting Collapse: The Crisis of Energy and Money in a Post Peak Oil World, a must-read for those wondering what the state of oil today means for tomorrow. It was the inspiration for a 2009 documentary, called Collapse, in which Ruppert explains his ideas clearly and concisely, with plenty of frightening data to back up his assertions.

The outlook, as Ruppert sees it, is grim. Global oil resources are dwindling while demand is skyrocketing. Untapped sources are probably negligible. The economy is broken, a pyramid scheme that must be rebuilt. As Ruppert told The Wall Street Journal, his central message is this: "It is not possible to continue infinite consumption and infinite population growth on a finite planet. "

Trailblazing isn't easy work, and exposing government corruption isn't the best way to make friends. Undeterred, Ruppert says his proudest accomplishment is being labeled a radical thinker. "From now on, those are the only words I'll ever have to put on a resume, " he says. "You have no idea how much work it takes to earn that simple freedom. "

That work has led to high stress, health issues, persecution, and financial problems. Called an extremist and conspiracy theorist by some, a prophet and genius by others, Ruppert is nothing if not a polarizing figure. Whether you agree with all of his ideas or not, his spot-on predictions in the past -- including his advance warning of the current recession -- and ability to draw connections that others miss are reason enough to at least hear what he has to say, no matter how uncomfortable and unsettling his words.

While his predictions are gloomy, in Confronting Collapse, he outlines more than two dozen ways to mitigate disaster, like re-localizing the economy (particularly with food and energy production), creating an emergency action plan for soil restoration, shifting infrastructure money to rail projects, and supporting community-level efforts at the national level.

Just as it was back in the 1970s when he was a narcotics officer on a mission to expose our own government's corruption, Ruppert's life is like a made-for-Hollywood movie -- but this one, if Ruppert is right, likely won't have a happy ending unless we make big changes soon.

For more information about Ruppert, visit

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