On April 20th and May 6th of this year, two seemingly unrelated events brought to stark relief — for those willing to pay attention — that while we're good at throwing our hyper-technological, globalized economies into overdrive, we're not so good at putting them smoothly in reverse.
The Deepwater Horizon disaster and the 1,000 point "flash crash" of the stock market are but two examples of what can happen when the massively complex, inter-connected world we've built hits up against the very real limits to growth. A quick glance at world news and you can easily see other examples: a deadly tsunami caused by glacier collapse in Peru... a credit crisis in Greece threatening to topple the government in Germany... ethnic strife in Central Asia inflamed by conflicts over water, natural gas, and other resources... and so on.
This is just the beginning.
In 2009, Post Carbon Institute recruited 29 of the world's leading sustainability thinkers to answer one fundamental question: How do we manage the transition to a more resilient, sustainable, and equitable world?
Like us, our Fellows see five key truths:
The first step, as we saw it, was to aggregate the most current, systems-oriented thinking about these interconnected threats, as well as the most promising responses. I'm proud to announce the outcome of this effort — The Post Carbon Reader: Managing the 21st Century's Sustainability Crises — will hit bookstores and classrooms in October 2010.
The Reader includes 35 essays by 28 Post Carbon Institute Fellows, including Bill McKibben, Richard Heinberg, Stephanie Mills, David Orr, Sandra Postel, Michael Shuman, Wes Jackson, Erika Allen, Bill Ryerson, Gloria Flora, and many other leading sustainability thinkers.
We're pleased to be partnering with Watershed Media and University of California Press to distribute this much-needed resource as broadly as possible. University of California Press is offering a 20% discount for early orders. Just follow these instructions.
Over the coming weeks and months, we'll be posting free pdf downloads of many of the articles included in The Post Carbon Reader. The first two, by Fellows Sandra Postel and Warren Karlenzig, have just been released.
Sandra's piece — "Water: Adapting to a New Normal" — looks at how these shortages will affect growth in the United States.
Warren's — "The Death of Sprawl: Designing Urban Resilience for the 21st Century Resource & Climate Crises" — analyzes the high, true cost of urban and exurban sprawl in the United States and proposes multiple appropriate responses.
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