Peak Everything addresses many of the cultural, psychological and practical changes we will have to make as nature rapidly dictates our new limits. This latest book from Richard Heinberg, author of three of the most important books on Peak Oil, touches on the most important aspects of the human condition at this unique moment in time.
A combination of wry commentary and sober forecasting on subjects as diverse as farming and industrial design, this book tells how we might make the transition from The Age of Excess to the Era of Modesty with grace and satisfaction, while preserving the best of our collective achievements. A must-read for individuals, business leaders and policy makers who are serious about effecting real change.
Richard Heinberg is the author of nine books and is widely regarded as one of the world's most effective communicators of the urgent need to transition away from fossil fuels. With a wry, unflinching approach based on facts and realism, he exposes the tenuousness of our current way of life and offers a vision for a truly sustainable future.
©2007 Richard Heinberg (P)2010 Post Hypnotic Press Inc.
"Richard Heinberg brings important news that few will want to hear – the limits we’ve been hearing about for four decades are really upon us. He also brings a pretty good hint of the directions we might take to escape the tightening knot. An important book from an important thinker." (Bill McKibben, author Deep Economy: the Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future)
"There are few harder questions than the ones Richard Heinberg takes on in Peak Everything. Fortunately, he addresses them with his customary fearlessness, intellectual rigor and good sense. More than anyone else I’ve encountered, Heinberg has an answer to the most fundamental question of all; “How shall we go on from here.” Reading this, I can believe there is hope that we can." (Sharon Astyk, farmer, publisher of Cansabon’s Book blog, author of The New Home Front: Families and the Coming Ecological Crisis)
"Once again – and with eyes as peeled to the task as a Buddha’s – Richard Heinberg jumps into the cauldron of global resources decline. This is his most integrated report from the social, economic, and ecological contraction now unfolding, which he delivers with mindfulness, compassion, and a view to humanity’s strengths." (Chellis Glendinning, author of My Name Is Chellis and I’m in Recovery from Western Civilization)
"Peak Oil is a great threat to our way of life, and Richard Heinberg is one of the world’s best-known writers and analysts of the subject. In Peak Everything, Heinberg gives us a series of provocative essays about the profound individual and global implications of Peak Oil." (Albert A. Bartlett, Professor Emeritus of Physics, University of Colorado at Boulder)
I found myself skipping over chapters in this book. Its not that I think that Heinberg is completely wrong but that many of the topics of the essays that make up the chapters are rehashes of ideas that Heinberg himself and others have written about while other chapters seem to be tangential to the theme of the book's title. If you are new to the idea of peak oil or more generally the depletion of environmental capital then this might be a good book for you, but I suggest two others below that are better to start. Be warned that some of the essays, such as Chapter 10's A Letter from the Future, suggest a completely collapsed future world, a la Kunstler's The Long Emergency. If you agree with such simplistic thinking you will like that Chapter, but you may find yourself asking whether running out of resources might lead to more complex outcomes. In this context, I want to plug a much better read, the Great Disruption by Paul Gilding, also available from Audible. If you want to be educated about depletion, that is the book to read, with its references to studies (such as those of the Global Footprint Network and the follow-up analyses of Limits to Growth). Gilding is able to be optimistic and to end the book with suggestions for what we can do now. If you want to read Heinberg, I suggest his The End of Growth, also available from Audible. A focused book rather than rambling essays.
The author seems to be actually anticipating a time when energy sources are exhausted so that we can go happily back to the nice world of auld, where people would be born, live and die in the same hamlet and would plough the earth with oxen and be happy with it.
He therefore bends all data so that it seems inevitable that we get there. So the book in the end is neither enjoyable, because of the slanted views fo the author, nor even informative, because it is definitely not an objective review of hard facts.
"And the world dreams on..."
Heinburg's well researched and cogently argued view of a world a mere ten to twenty years away is persuasive...and chilling. The incovenient truth is far more than simply climate change and for once in my life I think Bush got it right. The problem is the world's addiction to fossil fuels - particularly oil. If you are at all interested in where the world is going and, much more importantly, your own future (along with that of your children and their children) then this is essential reading. Are we at the end of oil? Is the world going to suffer global 'cold turkey'? What effect will it have on your life? The narrator cost the book a star in the rating system, but it isn't bad enough to get in the way of the message...so don't let it put you off. This is a compelling, eye-opening book that has started me on a road to radical change in my life. I cannot recommend it too highly.
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