The Post Carbon Reader - reviews

Post Carbon Reader cover

"The Post Carbon Reader is an invaluable primer, resource and textbook. This is what you need to know, period."
— Lester Brown, Earth Policy Institute
   author of Plan B 4.0

academic reviews
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Planning magazine

[Excerpt] ...Contributors most likely to be known to planners are William E. Rees of the University of British Columbia, Deborah E. Popper of the City University of New York, and Frank Popper of Rutgers. In "Smart Decline in Post-Carbon Cities," the Poppers discuss the pioneering efforts of Buffalo, Detroit, Youngstown, and a few other cities and compare them to the more gradual acceptance of decline in the very nonurban Great Plains, which the couple has been writing about for years. "The search for adaptive urban shrinkage has only begun," they conclude. As the contributors go, they are still fairly optimistic. In contrast, in his review of the climate situation, popular author Bill McKibben can only say that "it's still possible we can avert the very worst catastrophes."...This is a reader worth reading and pondering, especially if you can't keep up with all the books on these topics — and who can?

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"The Post Carbon Reader is a unique resource. I've found the cross-disciplinary approach to understanding the many dimensions of addressing peak oil and climate change to be very helpful. There isn’t any fluff, and regardless of your perspective or profession, there are likely several sections you will find of high value. I would highly recommend the Reader to students, planners, engineers, policy makers, elected officials, executives and anyone seeking to broaden and deepen their understanding of the great work now before us. My dog-eared copy is full of notes, underlines and highlights."

  -- George Dondero, Executive Director, Santa Cruz (Calif.) County Regional Transportation Commission


The Post Carbon Institute has gathered 29 of the world's leading experts to point the way to a more resilient, just, and sustainable world. The Post Carbon Reader is a comprehensive, in-depth examination of the inter-connected sustainability crises humanity now faces. Rather than just being a gloom and doom book representative of the genre, each author brings forth solutions and positive trends affected the issue about which they write...

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"This is one of the best readers that I have seen in my 48 years as a university professor. The articles were well-written, up to date, and contained some extremely valuable information. I suggested to the students that they keep the book for future reference, instead of selling it back to the bookstore at the end of the semester.

  -- Al Williams, Professor Emeritus, Department of Sociology, University of Nebraska

Ethical Markets

[Excerpt] ...The Post Carbon Reader definitely merits attention for many reasons. Its focus on surviving and thriving in an energy and resource constrained world organizes its forty authors' contributions concisely and with practicality. I am familiar with many of these authors, already giants in the field and some are friends, including Stephanie Mills, David Orr, Wes Jackson, Michael Shuman, Sandra Postel, Richard Douthwaite and Zenobia Barlow. Many others are less well-known, brilliant theorists and practitioners of sustainability in the whole spectrum of human life, working on visionary redesign of communities and offering practical steps to reforming our societies from top to bottom.

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Transition Voice

[Excerpt] ...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. Finishing The Post Carbon Reader can give you the same sense of accomplishment as if you’d polished off Aristotle’s Poetics, Gargantua and Pantagruel and the Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica between dinner and bedtime. It’s like graduating from Post-Carbon University. And all without the student loans...

...As far as the Post Carbon Institute’s branding, this volume has done its duty to establish the group’s credibility. And I’m sure many other readers will be proud to join me in graduating from Post Carbon University.

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Common Current

[Excerpt] ...Much like the Club of Rome's 1972 treatise, The Limits to Growth, the work of PCI fellows now presents a publicly available collective analysis of where we are, where we are headed and what our options might be in terms of climate, biodiversity, economies, cities, food, energy, culture, population, health, education, transportation and developing better resilience. Most importantly, thanks to editors Heinberg and Daniel Lerch, The Post Carbon Reader illustrates inter-relationships among these categories, instead of just providing a laundry list of issues and challenges...

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Make Wealth History

[Excerpt] ...I wouldn’t normally highlight a forthcoming book, but I’m making an exception of this one because there’s a great series of sample chapters available as downloads from the Post Carbon website. I’ve been browsing them this week on the train, and if the rest is as well written and well designed, I’ll enjoy reading the whole book when it comes out in October.

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IPPY medal

SMPL prize