The Post Carbon Reader: Managing the 21st Centurys Sustainability Crises

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The essays are short and very readable, and usually get straight to the point. The authors have a good grip on what is happening now, and offer suggestions for what might be a good direction to head in the future. The suggestions are much more realist than idealist, and emphasize that we are beyond the preventi I really liked this book and the tone of it.

The suggestions are much more realist than idealist, and emphasize that we are beyond the prevention stage, time to make our battle plan for the reality of global climate change and a much altered future. Highly recommended book for anyone with an interest in any of the 16 topics covered, because if you read about one of them, you may flip through and read the rest!

A great overview of some of the largest problems facing us as a species. May 08, Sean Estelle rated it liked it. I was underwhelmed by this book, for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, I picked it up knowing that there was a chapter on population, and I figured that I would be able to skim through there without needing to agree with an analysis that includes population control as a fundamental part of the analysis of the wide spread of authors in this anthology.

That was not the case, however. This was unfortunate, as population control solutions are rooted in racist solutions and an incorrect analys I was underwhelmed by this book, for a couple of reasons. This was unfortunate, as population control solutions are rooted in racist solutions and an incorrect analysis of who has caused the crises we face. In addition, many of the other underlying solutions proposed fail to name class enemies and what the roots of our problems are. That being said, some of the chapters do have a good racial justice analysis and propose awesome steps that can be taken especially in systems like waste, transportation, and healthcare, which are not really top priorities for many folks working on transforming the energy system at the moment.

May 22, John Kaufmann rated it really liked it Shelves: energy. Wide-ranging collection of essays on the issues and alternatives a post-carbon world would face - agriculture, food systems, alternative energy, housing, transportation, urban design, population growth and density, governance, etc. Jul 11, Kayla rated it really liked it.

A collection of insightful essays that gives you an inside look on city planners, environmentalists, psychologists, and sociologists ideas on different topics from economic to environmental about how our world these days, is changing. Jun 30, Dan Wren added it. A very comprehensive collection of papers from various authors on the many related subjects of sustainability.

Dec 27, Ethan rated it liked it. This book promises to illustrate the interconnected challenges that humanity faces in the near future read:TODAY while at the same time providing concrete actions that can be taken to mitigate them and prepare. The wide ranging essays do indeed cover the gamut; climate, biodiversity, energy, economics, pollution, population, food, water etc are all thoughtfully addressed, sometimes to the point of repetition. I will say however, that the takeaway any thinking person should have is that the odds This book promises to illustrate the interconnected challenges that humanity faces in the near future read:TODAY while at the same time providing concrete actions that can be taken to mitigate them and prepare.

If the real carrying capacity of the planet is 2 billion, what's gonna happen when the other 4 billion people get a pink slip? How does widespread war, famine, and environmental collapse not create a vicious feedback loop that few can escape?

Richard Heinberg & Daniel Lerch “The Post Carbon Reader”

Even Chris Martenson's more useful chapter on personal preparation "for what's coming" pulls its punches. I was shocked to see what he really thinks on his website. I tend to agree with James Lovelock you should Google his recent interview with the BBC , who coined the term "Gaia" to name his concept of looking at planets as holistic systems.

Provost Lecture: Daniel Esty - 20th Century Environmental Protection to 21st Century Sustainability

He claims that every research who connects multiple systems to make predictions fails to recognize how much more interconnected they in fact are. As such I think this book fails to connect the dots it has somewhat comprehensively collected together. Maybe it is intended to be a palatable primer on global challenges, but it is arguably the lack of alarm that average people feel that will be our undoing.

I have a three year old, so I don't take this failing lightly. Jul 21, Briana rated it really liked it.

ISBN 13: 9780970950062

Overall, "The Post Carbon Reader" is a great primer on sustainability. Organized as an anthology, each section of essays covers major topics in sustainability, such as climate, energy, water, transportation, food, and waste. It also includes a small, brief section on Transition Towns.

Each author uses relatively lay terms to explain sustainability, which is excellent for people who lack significant background in the topic, but leaves those of us who actually study sustainability, yearning for mo Overall, "The Post Carbon Reader" is a great primer on sustainability. Each author uses relatively lay terms to explain sustainability, which is excellent for people who lack significant background in the topic, but leaves those of us who actually study sustainability, yearning for more.

The sections on water and biodiversity were particularly disappointing. On a book about sustainability, why would you devote only ONE essay to water?! On the other hand, the sections on climate and energy provided relatively thorough overviews of the issues, which should remind you where the priorities of the Post Carbon Institute lie. On the whole, I'm glad I took the time to read all pages of the book. I may even go out and buy my own copy to replace the library item I have right now. However, the scope of the book is not truly comprehensive, as its editors implicitly claim.

If a second edition were to be published, I would encourage the editors to consider diversifying the authorship i. I would read and review that version, too. View 2 comments. Sep 18, Nate rated it liked it Shelves: science. This is a collection of many essays and articles written by many of the great thinkers on climate change and sustainability issues.

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For the most part it's pretty informative, and I'm glad I gave it a look. If you want to learn about the myriad ways our society depends on the environment, the ways we're undermining that, and how we could do better, it's a great resource. You can pick it up now and again and just read a section at a time, so don't be turned off by how thick the book is. The one cri This is a collection of many essays and articles written by many of the great thinkers on climate change and sustainability issues.

The one criticism I'll bring is that too many of the articles tend toward the touchy-feely "the earth is beautiful and we must save her virgin naturalness" messages. I agree with this well enough but it doesn't help me learn. I was hoping for a higher density of hard data on climate impacts and more concrete studies on what can be done to make things better. That said, that is definitely present in a lot of the articles, just not all of them, so I still think it's very worthwhile. Oct 11, Matthew Ciarvella rated it really liked it Shelves: If I could force people to read one book, I think it would be this one.

That's a weird thing to say, isn't it? It's an even weirder compliment to give a work. But here's the thing: this book, divided up into numerous essays on many different aspects of climate change, sustainability, and other eco-topics, is well argued and well constructed. This is eco-reading that's on an entirely different scale; very little attention is paid to any of the soft, fluffy appeals to "mother earth" or "the beauti If I could force people to read one book, I think it would be this one. This is eco-reading that's on an entirely different scale; very little attention is paid to any of the soft, fluffy appeals to "mother earth" or "the beautiful web of life.

You can go hug some trees later, we've got serious work to do. I'm glad I put the time in to study this topic for a while and I think you'd be well served to do the same. Jan 19, Daniel added it. We're really glad to see that so many people have enjoyed The Post Carbon Reader! If you'd like to connect with other readers and the contributors to this book, be sure to visit our pages on Facebook and LinkedIn. Most of the book as well as some extras is now available for free download at postcarbonreader.

You can also find some of our related videos there, including our ever-popular Years of Fossil Fuels in Seconds.

May 31, Sam Dye rated it really liked it. Remarkable book. Analysis by multiple authors of our current state with fossil fuel limitations vs the environment vs the recession. I am reading some chapters again because there is so much information. This is something that we all are going to have to deal with at some time. Better to look closely at it now because it appears that it is only going to get worse. There is a section on food storage and the im Remarkable book. There is a section on food storage and the importance of using other than 'big box" stores for all our food and just doing something to limit our own fuel use.

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Human Health and Well-Being in an Era of Energy Scarcity and Climate Change

Apr 16, Chris rated it really liked it Shelves: dystopian , non-fiction. I liked this collection of essays quite a bit. I found many fascinating and concise excerpts detailing the challenges that we as a species will face in the future post-carbon world. I highly recommend this to people of a progressive mindset and I'm not confident that the book would be as well received by those with an inherently opposed worldview. For this reason, I am afraid books like this preach to the choir.

May 03, Amanda Wolf rated it it was amazing Shelves: sustainability. This was actually one of the best books I've read so far regarding sustainability. There are a lot of great authors that are doing great work. But this book forsakes the Cassandra cry of a Berkeley activist at a giant redwood tree-sit. Likewise missing is the smooth scenario-spinning of a Silicon Valley venture capitalist at a TED conference. Instead, the page volume shows an outsized ambition to present all areas of practical human knowledge from the viewpoint of peak oil. In any event, this volume should not make any apologies for being too short or lacking in scope.

Its 34 essays by two dozen authors impressively cover subjects likely to be both old and new to readers who follow peak oil, climate change and the economic crisis. And all without the student loans. These essays can serve as both excellent introductions to newcomers and helpful refreshers for people more familiar with energy and the environment. For me, most exciting were the essays that traveled beyond the well worn sustainability paths of wildlife, food, water and energy. Like any skilled essayists, they show how their subject is central to some bigger issues that you may never have thought about.

In this case, it turns out that products and packaging are bigger contributors to global warming than the two next sources of greenhouse-gas emissions, buildings and transportation, combined. Even worse, the false promise of turning landfill gas into fuel causes cities to make bad decisions such as diverting food scraps from promising new composting programs back into landfills to get a methane payback that may never come. I always suspected that human health went beyond prescriptions and MRIs.

Now I feel that the authors have given me permission to see factors ranging from employment and income to justice and the law to soils and mineral resources as factors in keeping people well or making them sick. The two essays on education are thought-provoking. Nancy Lee Wood shows how community colleges could be more relevant than Harvard or, for that matter, Chicago in a world that requires fewer investment bankers and drug company sales reps and more organic farmers, solar-panel installers and managers of small-scale local factories.

Appropriately to a volume that wants to leave its reader in a hopeful port after voyaging on a sea of troubles, the book ends with action-oriented essays by Chris Martenson and Transition Town originator Rob Hopkins. And interestingly, both authors eschew much talk of sustainability and instead focus on resilience. At the session set aside to introduce The Post Carbon Reader at the ASPO-USA conference in October, Lerch presented the book as an example of how the Post Carbon Institute is trying to appeal to a wider public who may not yet be familiar with peak oil and its impacts on the economy, the environment and our culture.

But such missionary work is a pretty tall order for a book of essays, no matter how accessible some of the chapters may be. Take young people, for example.

In my experience as a college teacher, the first and last time that most young people encounter the collection-of-essays genre is in a classroom. So I can imagine those University of Chicago grinds giving over a half hour or 45 minutes to ruthlessly skim The Post Carbon Reader if some professor assigned it for discussion the next day.

But it is more difficult for me to picture those same young people, some of whom must be as curious as they are ambitious, slowly poring over the Reader on a lazy Saturday afternoon with a croissant and a tall latte. In that way, the Reader may be a gateway for new audiences to discover the pleasures of important writing on peak oil. Next, I wonder if the PCI might consider a future publication more on the side of accessibility. How about short pamphlets on some of the key issues covered in this volume and not covered much elsewhere, such as post-peak education or healthcare?

These creative folks could give us fiction, poetry, photography and art to stimulate creative thinking throughout our society. Their genius could help release the genius inside us all. Seduce us with some Silicon Valley vision. Intoxicate us with the fragrance of a Sonoma Valley vineyard in June. For now, The Post Carbon Reader is a must-read for anyone who cares about how peak oil and climate change affect us all. And it could be a helpful tool to introduce someone who needs to learn about these issues. Why not buy a copy as a gift for your favorite Congressional staffer, city councilperson or local newspaper editor this holiday season?