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Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines Paperback – October 12, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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
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.
Top Customer Reviews
One of the strengths of the book in my view is that it comes at the subject from so many different angles. I was impressed again and again by the scope of Heinberg's knowledge and the way he put the pieces together to make sense of the great challenges that we are facing.
As he himself says, "None of this is easy to contemplate. . . . [T]he suggestion that we are at or near the peak of population and consumption levels for the entirety of human history and that it's all downhill from here is not likely to win votes, lead to a better job, or even make for pleasant dinner banter."
But the better you understand the true nature of a problem, the better able you are to deal with it, and this book is the best yet in my opinion to help one awaken to the full implications of this "century of decline".
1) Any society that continues to use critical resources unsustainably will collapse.
2) Population growth, and, or, growth in the rates of consumption of resources cannot be sustained.
3) To be sustainable, the use of renewable resources must proceed at a rate that is less than or equal to the rate of natural replenishment.
4) To be sustainable, the use of nonrenewable resources must proceed at a rate that is declining, and the rate of decline must be greater than or equal to the rate of depletion.
5) Sustainability requires substances introduced into the environment from human activities be minimized and tendered harmless to biosphere functions.
The psychology of peak oil and climate change discussion is like Kubler-Ross' "On Death and Dying." This all lands on the shoulders of "boomers" or the "me" generation. How do you stay optimistic and move forward when most have been conditioned to expect continuous greater wealth and lower cost? Questions and anger are answered by a "A Letter From the Future" - a look back from 2107 CE.
Many of us think, "If only I could be rational and think objectively in light of too much hyperbole and misinformation." I keep this book close at hand and constantly reread specific chapters.Read more ›
Richard Heinberg is an excellent author, and I HIGHLY recommend that everyone read his (other) book "Party's Over" for a riveting & sobering understanding of peak oil! With that under our belts, many of us are now coming to recognize peak population, peak food, peak pollution, peak global temperature, peak fresh water, peak arable land, peak mineral resources, peak ocean fisheries, peak species diversity, peak uranium, peak weaponry, peak resource wars, peak wealth disparity, peak waste, peak life expectancy, etc. Peak Everything! That's what I THOUGHT this book would address.
Instead, he has cobbled together a collection of essays on aesthetics, psychology, language, and other aspects of peaking. Oh, it's okay stuff, but it's not at all what I expected nor hoped to read--and he warns of that in the first page of the introduction. The intro is sprinkled with charts showing peaks, but they're not really discussed in much detail.
This book is for those who already know a lot about peak everything and just can't stop reading about it. Discussions of Art Nouveau, Freud, and wild parrots were just too tangentially abstract for my expectations. I wanted hard facts and numbers for forceful arguments, proposed plans of action, and glimpses of hope in promising new breakthroughs.
It's hard to rate this fairly because it was so disappointing due to the misleading title. Chapters 8, 9, & 10 won me over to the fourth star. Chapter 8, "Bridging Peak Oil and Climate Change Action," was my long sought acknowledgement of the 800 pound gorilla: discussion of the two topics from a single perspective.
Please, Mr. Heinberg, now write the book on Peak Everything!
2012 UPDATE: Toss in "Peak Growth". Heinberg has now written a book worthy of the title Peak Everything, but it's title is The End of Growth. Great book! Read it instead of this one.
At the same time we are getting repeated warnings that the atmosphere is `peaking' in the amount of greenhouse gases it can absorb without inducing climate change. The best information available indicates that other conventional sources of energy--natural gas, coal, and uranium--will all peak within the next 30 years. If this were a movie it would be real thriller; unfortunately we're talking about reality.
Richard Heinberg, author of `Peak Everything,' is one of the world's leading thinkers and writers on this rather earth-shaking issue of the peaking of the resources critical to our society as it is current configured. Heinberg has two other recent books that go into detail on the probable timing of these peaks (see `The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Society') and what our choices are in response to this emerging reality (see `Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post-carbon World').
This book, `Peak Everything,' is a wide-ranging exploration of how we managed, physically and psychologically, to end up in this blind alley (the majority of the world's 6.5 billion people are now fed by our petroleum-based agricultural system), and what some of the most promising models are for viable human communities in the future. There is no more compelling subject than this and Heinberg offers some of the best thinking and best insights to be found in print.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Heinberg has been proved dead wrong one more time. Seems like technology and economics have again improved our lives and effectively enhanced and rationed supplies of scarce... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Chuck
Richard has done an incredible job of documenting "This is how it is". We have built a complex and confusing world that is impossible to maintain. Read morePublished on August 27, 2013 by Mary Brown
Well, the author says we're going to run out of fossil fuels and revert to 18th century living (or worse). Read morePublished on June 12, 2013 by Amazon Customer
Have you heard of the term, peak oil? I hadn't, either. Peak oil is the term that essentially means that the world has hit its maximum rate of oil extraction. Read morePublished on December 19, 2012 by Jonathan Esterman
Bummer about how fracking has utterly destroyed the peak oil theory, yeah?
I strongly suggest buying this book for your grandchildren to review fifty years from now. Read more
A depressing book, but one that presents an accurate projection of our overuse of resources. Scares you into becoming a believer. An enjoyable, easy read.Published on November 20, 2012 by Rick
I bought this book hoping to learn where the critical shortages are and what solutions there might be to these problems. Read morePublished on November 5, 2011 by Concerned American
PEAK EVERYTHING: WAKING UP TO THE CENTURY OF DECLINES documents the unprecedented growth of the world economy and why the 21st century will be the era of declines, from available... Read morePublished on January 18, 2011 by Midwest Book Review