The 20th century saw unprecedented growth in population, energy consumption and food production. As the population shifted from rural to urban, human impacts on the environment increased dramatically.
The 21st century ushered in an era of declines, including:
Oil, natural gas and coal extraction Yearly grain harvests Climate stability Economic growth Fresh water Minerals and ores, such as copper and platinum To adapt to this profoundly different world, we must begin now to make radical changes to our attitudes, behaviors and expectations.
Now in paperback and featuring a foreword by James Howard Kunstler, Peak Everything addresses many of the cultural, psychological and practical changes we will have to make as nature dictates our new limits. This landmark work from Richard Heinberg, author of three of the most important books on Peak Oil, touches on vital 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 describes how to 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. Peak Everything is a must-read for individuals, business leaders and policy makers serious about effecting real change.
In his latest, "Peak Oil" expert Heinberg (Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies) puts that theory in place alongside corresponding peaks in population, food production, climate stability and fresh water availability to paint a grim future of overlapping and accelerating global crises. For an introduction to Peak Oil, the idea that coming fossil fuel shortages will be sudden and drastic, readers should seek Heinberg's earlier works; this volume assumes familiarity and addresses the challenges a post-carbon world poses for a global community "as reliant on hydrocarbons as it is on water, sunlight, and soil." The worst-case scenario, "global economic meltdown" and a new round of resource wars, can only be avoided "by proactively reducing our reliance on oil, gas, and coal ahead of depletion and scarcity." This involves a vast, worldwide change to fossil fuel-free production that prizes handcrafted buildings and objects, durable and simple design, ease of reparability and material conservation. Although Heinberg attempts to inject some optimism, the intersection of peak oil and climate change-not to mention overpopulation, water scarcity, a clueless ruling class and a citizenry largely unaware of the problem's magnitude-is not a hopeful vantage point, and readers may not want to tackle this downer without other works on deck to provide plans for action.