about

Founded in 2003, Post Carbon Institute is leading the transition to a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable world.

our mission

Post Carbon Institute provides individuals, communities, businesses, and governments with the resources needed to understand and respond to the interrelated economic, energy, environmental, and equity crises that define the 21st century. We envision a world of resilient communities and re-localized economies that thrive within ecological bounds.

overview

our goals

Post Carbon Institute has four primary goals:

  • Build awareness and understanding. Our aim is to help people face reality, understand the true nature of the crises at hand, and take thoughtful, confident action.
  • Foster collaboration. To successfully navigate the transition at hand will take unprecedented cooperation. Too often, efforts take place in isolated silos. Our goal is support true collaboration that sees both the causes and solutions to these crises as interconnected.
  • Integrate knowledge. Individual approaches and responses in one area can sometimes exacerbate other problems or escalate an overall crisis. Post Carbon Institute takes a whole systems approach to ensure that solutions amplify, rather than cancel out, one another.
  • Inspire action. The sheer enormity of the challenge at hand and the uncertainty of times ahead can lead to fear, hopelessness, or paralysis. We offer people and communities concrete, practical, and replicable actions to build resilience and manage the transition.

the need

Speak with any macroeconomist, ecologist, resource expert, public servant, geopolitical specialist, social justice advocate, public health expert, or environmentalist and you are likely to hear about alarming challenges, if not fundamental crises facing us. Experts in each of these fields can describe issues—the growing gap between haves and have-nots, runaway climate change, biodiversity loss, an economy struggling with massive debt and unemployment levels, depleting natural resources, the end of cheap energy—that will test us. Together, these crises are fundamentally reshaping our world.

We are living at a profound inflection point, a moment in the long arc of human history when numerous crises are not only converging, they are interacting, and virtually every living thing on the planet feels the effects. Yet how well do we (and these experts) understand the systemic forces at work, or how one driver may impact another? What are the key points of vulnerability…and opportunity? Where are the leverage points to generate systems-wide shifts? And, most crucially: How can we build a more resilient society?

Post Carbon Institute believes that the starting point for all future planning is an understanding that:

  • None of our global problems can be tackled in isolation. We must connect the dots to get to the source of these challenges, not just their symptoms, and to maximize what little time and resources we have to address them.
  • We must focus on responses, not just solutions. As John Michael Greer says, we face a predicament, not a problem. “The difference is that a problem calls for a solution; the only question is whether a solution can be found and made to work and, once this is done, the problem is solved. A predicament, by contrast, has no solution. Faced with a predicament, people come up with responses.”
  • We must prepare for business unusual. While the general trends are clear, it’s impossible to specifically predict exactly how world events will unfold. Therefore, it’s critically important that we build resilience on the individual, community, and global scale. Resilient people and communities are characterized by their ability to absorb shocks disruptions and unexpected setbacks while maintaining their essential identity and values.

As Richard Heinberg says, “If we do nothing, we still get to a post-carbon future, but it will be bleak. However, if we plan the transition, we can have a world that supports robust communities of healthy, creative people and ecosystems with millions of other species.”

These times will test our courage, capacity, and commitment. These are also exciting times, when broken paradigms can be discarded and communities grounded in deeper relationships. Many families and communities have already begun the journey toward low-consumption, equitable sustainability. We hope you join us.

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