The bottom line for sustainability is that any proposal for sustainable development that does not explicitly acknowledge a system’s resilience is simply not going to keep delivering the goods (or services). Resilience science is based on the simple premise that change is inevitable and that attempts to resist change or control it in any strict […]
My grubby little town was full of young men in big trucks and muscle cars who had come north to make their fortunes in the oil fields. During oil booms they kept the bars hopping and the hookers busy, dropping hundred dollar bills like candy…When the wells ran dry the young men disappeared, shops shuttered […]
It seems that the more a society sees itself as cerebral, with clever technological and material innovations, the more its bonds with, and recognition of, the significance of nature processes and ecosystems recede. The ability to create artificial environments (air conditioning, heating, lighting) and chemically alter natural materials (processed food, plastic) perhaps gives the illusion […]
The sheer scale of our dependency on nonrenewable, energy-dense “fossilized sunshine” is often lost on those who believe that renewable energy sources can supplant hydrocarbons at anything like today’s level of energy consumption. Thus it is prudent to examine the prognosis for fossil fuels within North America, as they will make up the bulk of […]
As it has grown in numbers and technological might, the human race has become a force of geophysical proportion, on par with the asteroid that struck the Yucatan during the Cretaceous era, dethroning Tyrannosaurus rex. Extinction is final. Yet no species is immortal. Extinction has been part of evolution since life emerged on Earth. This […]
Now there’s the reality of climate change. We’ve gone into overshoot and we are in economic trouble. We look to more economic growth, but once economics and population growth absorb all of the renewables and all of the efficiency, then what? The technological fundamentalist comes along and says, “We will solve the problem through technology.” […]
Despite its persuasive momentum, the green building movement signifies a mere initial advance toward a low-carbon future. Even as we acknowledge that green facilities must be the building blocks of the resilient cities of tomorrow, we face significant barriers to a wholesale shift in the industry. Several challenges dominate… This is a chapter from The […]
Economic localization offers the key to solving a growing number of global problems, including peak oil, climate disruption, and financial meltdowns. Yet the perception remains that this solution is very costly, because local goods and services supposedly are more expensive than their global alternatives. American consumers are convinced that “big-box” stores and bigger businesses mean […]
Successful post-carbon transitions will benefit from understanding the dynamics of transport revolutions. We define a transport revolution as being substantial change in a society’s transport activity–moving people or freight, or both–that occurs in less than twenty five years. This is a chapter from The Post Carbon Reader: Managing the 21st Century’s Sustainability Crises (2010).
Climate change and the threat of energy scarcity now pose serious challenges to our “health system,” specifically health care services and public health services. This is a chapter from The Post Carbon Reader: Managing the 21st Century’s Sustainability Crises (2010).