In response to the coming impact of peak oil, John Michael Greer helps us envision the transition from an industrial society to a sustainable ecotechnic world – not returning to the past, but creating a society that supports relatively advanced technology on a sustainable resource base.
Fusing human ecology and history, this book challenges assumptions held by mainstream and alternative thinkers about the evolution of human societies. Human societies, like ecosystems, evolve in complex and unpredictable ways, making it futile to try to impose rigid ideological forms on the patterns of evolutionary change. Instead, social change must explore many pathways over which we have no control. The troubling and exhilarating prospect of an open-ended future, he proposes, requires dissensus – a deliberate acceptance of radical diversity that widens the range of potential approaches to infinity.
Written in three parts, the book places the present crisis of the industrial world in its historical and ecological context in part one; part two explores the toolkit for Ecotechnic Age, and part three opens a door to the complexity of future visions.
Brookings Papers (Spring 2009). Conference Draft: http://www.brookings.edu/economics/bpea/~/media/Files/Programs/ES/BPEA/2009_spring_bpea_papers/2009_spring_bpea_hamilton.pdf
This paper explores similarities and differences between the run‐up of oil prices in 2007‐08 and earlier oil price shocks, looking at what caused the price increase and what effects it had on the economy. Whereas historical oil price shocks were primarily caused by physical disruptions of supply, the price run‐up of 2007‐08 was caused by strong demand confronting stagnating world production. Although the causes were different, the consequences for the economy appear to have been very similar to those observed in earlier episodes, with significant effects on overall consumption spending and purchases of domestic automobiles in particular. In the absence of those declines, it is unlikely that we would have characterized the period 2007:Q4 to 2008:Q3 as one of economic recession for the U.S. The experience of 2007‐08 should thus be added to the list of recessions to which oil prices appear to have made a material contribution.
Colin Campbell explains why, in a work that’s accessible to both layman and professional. The grand old man of depletion studies, and currently president of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil, Colin Campbell distils a lifetime’s study of oil reserves into this book. In his previous acclaimed book, the Coming Oil Crisis, he explained why a crisis was imminent. Now, in OIL CRISIS, he argues it’s here, and the world is hopelessly unprepared for the consequences. Well meaning enthusiasm for renewables and high hopes about hydrogen will be seen for what they are when the wells stop pumping. It’s a crisis of truly historic proportions. This is the book by the man who has the deep oil industry experience to properly unravel the issues, to illuminate for us the chamber of horrors into which we’ve just stumbled. To find out where you really are, read this book.
It often seems that different crises are competing to devastate civilisation. This book argues that financial meltdown, dwindling oil reserves, terrorism and food shortages need to be considered as part of the same ailing system.
Most accounts of our contemporary global crises such as climate change, or the threat of terrorism, focus on one area, or another, to the exclusion of others. Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed argues that the unwillingness of experts to look outside their own fields explains why there is so much disagreement and misunderstanding about particular crises. This book attempts to investigate all of these crises, not as isolated events, but as trends and processes that belong to a single global system. We are therefore not dealing with a ‘clash of civilisations’, as Huntington argued. Rather, we are dealing with a fundamental crisis of civilisation itself.
This book provides a stark warning of the consequences of failing to take a broad view of the problems facing the world and shows how catastrophe can be avoided.
Spiegel Online International (01/10/2010):