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The Great Disruption: Why the Climate Crisis Will Bring On the End of Shopping and the Birth of a New World Paperback – January 31, 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Press; 1 edition (January 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608193535
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608193530
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #753,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Gilding, former director of Greenpeace International and now on the faculty at Cambridge University™s Program for Sustainable Leadership, proposes that global warming is just one piece of an impending planetary collapse caused by our overuse of resources. According to the Global Footprint Network, we surpassed Earth™s capacity in 1988, and by 2009, we needed the resources of 1.4 planets to sustain our economy—and any increases in efficiencies that some claim will solve the problem are likely only to encourage us to use more. Gilding argues that, like addicts who need to hit bottom, we energy users will deny our problem until we œface head-on the risk of collapse, but when we do, we will address the emergency with the commitment of our response to WWII and begin a real transformation to a sustainable economy built on equality, quality of life, and harmony with the ecosystem. Gilding™s confidence in our ability to transform disaster into a œhappiness economy may astonish readers, but the book provides a refreshing, provocative alternative to the recent spate of gloom-and-doom climate-change studies. (Mar.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"Though Gilding's prose is plain and his sustainability message is unapologetically advocative, he backs up his arguments with plenty of facts and avenues for [listeners] to pursue." ---Library Journal --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

More About the Author

Paul is an independent writer, advisor and advocate for action on climate change and sustainability. He has been an activist and social entrepreneur for 35 years and is widely recognised as a global authority and thought leader on sustainability and on its implications for business and social change. He lives on a blueberry farm in southern Tasmania, Australia with his wife and children.

He has also served as CEO of a range of innovative NGO's and companies including Greenpeace International and two companies he owned - Ecos Corporation and Easy Being Green. He has worked on business strategy with the CEOs and executives of many leading companies including globally with DuPont, Diageo, BHP Billiton and Ford. He also helped to establish and served on the board of a number of non-profit groups. His speaking and work has taken him to over 30 countries.

His current roles include as a member of the Core Faculty at Cambridge University's Program for Sustainability Leadership. "The Great Disruption" is his first book and was published globally by Bloomsbury in 2011.
His blog, The Cockatoo Chronicles, has subscribers around the world and can be found at

Customer Reviews

I think it will have that effect on many - hopefully all - of us.
S. G. Spence
And they are right except for the fact that the arguments used in the first part of the book are just flat out not very convincing.
The Great Disruption is an well argued and optimistic view of how people will respond to climate change.
Jack Holden

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

182 of 194 people found the following review helpful By J. B. Marques on June 17, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
There are two books in one here. The first third is about the Great Disruption itself, that is, the logical and inescapable consequences of the endless craving for growth and use of the finite natural resources of planet Earth. That the globe can't sustain infinite economical and population growth, especially with the ramping consumerism in the last decades, is an obvious conclusion that hasn't escaped even the pillars of Economy, such as Adam Smith, Keynes and Stuart Mill. This idea hasn't been recognized as it should, as an absurdly important and urgent matter, simply because its consequences are just appaling: in order for humans to stop destroying the world, and living the terrible consequences of doing so (we are already suffering them), the economy that drives us will have to shrink in tremendous levels. Endless consumption will simply have to end.

This part of the book could easily discuss many further examples of the causes and consequences of this process. Instead, it goes at length just to convince you simply that "this is true and will happen". Sadly, it shies away from what all this really means, which is what scares people so much, barely touching the facts that this collapse of economic growth means exactly 1. the logical failure of capitalism; and 2. that millions of people *will die* in this process. And soon.

So, in order to still be attractive to a large audience, the rest of the book leaves this discussion behind and becomes some sort of eco-self-help for middle-class and rich Americans (maybe also Australians, since that's where Gilding comes from). It centers on practical ways the reader should adopt in order to live in a more equal world, less demanding of nature and of consumption goods.
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94 of 101 people found the following review helpful By Sam on April 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have followed the writings of Mr. Gilding for many years, after hearing him speak at the Sustainabile Enterprise Academy at York University. This was just about the time that his "Scream, Crash, Boom" essay was published on the web. If there was one book that I would recommend on the topic of seeking sustainability to encourage creation of sustainabile enterprise and creation of future abundance for as many species on the planet as possible, this is the book I would currently recommend. His assessments of the disruption in socio-economic and environmental systems are spot on, and as such, they can be used to produce future scenarios that are valuable for strategy planning in businesses and communities alike. If what he projects is true for the redefining of growth and commerical markets, it will produce radical change. However, after the last few year, it seems to me this is what we need to transform our global development operating systems.

I am currently using his concepts along with Dr. Stuart Hart's (Capitalism at the Crossroads) to engage a new generation of business students that must be the engine of change and deal with, "The Great Disruption". This is an excellent book to support learning and action, as it provides not only a forecast of the future, but ideas of how we must behave to succeed in the coming brave new world.

If everyone in Washington DC were to read this book and begin to behave in a way to address the challenges, but most importantly the opportunities that are created by the disruption, America could reinvent itself. Paul Gilding has provided a fine guidebook. Good work Mr. Gilding and Thank you. It is now up to us to quit fighting over the meaningless and move forward on the meaninful.
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Jack Holden on June 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The Great Disruption is about our rollercoaster response to climate change. It moves fast and it's a bit scary but people are still keen to get on this ride. This is Paul Gilding's first book that draws from his experience as entrepreneur, business consultant and Greenpeace activist.
The Great Disruption is an well argued and optimistic view of how people will respond to climate change. Gilding regards the Allies response to WW2 as a good indicator of how we can rapidly transform our culture and economies with a "can do" approach to a crisis. This provides a welcome counter-view from the disempowerment and despair of much climate commentary.

Gilding's view is not just a rose-colored view of this crisis. He argues there will be decades of disruptive events and economic shocks to overcome, including coal becoming uncompetitive. The book provides a compelling overview of the climate science. He ably argues that climate change is no longer just about the environment but it's now about the impacts on the economy.

Drawing upon seminal work such as Small is Beautiful and Limits to Growth the book also contends that we have reached the limits of economic growth and that sort of growth is no longer a valid objective. Alternative measures are needed. Gilding, quite rightly, points out that an equitable society is a happier society and that material possessions do not, on their own, create a sense of happiness.
The book then moves into solutions. It takes nearly half the book to get here and readers will need some resilience to get through this. The solutions however, are encouraging and are based a "One Degree War" plan. There is a menu of innovative businesses and technologies that will change our economies.
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