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The Great Disruption [Kindle Edition]

Paul Gilding
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)

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Book Description

It's time to stop just worrying about climate change, says Paul Gilding. We need instead to brace for impact because global crisis is no longer avoidable. This Great Disruption started in 2008, with spiking food and oil prices and dramatic ecological changes, such as the melting ice caps. It is not simply about fossil fuels and carbon footprints. We have come to the end of Economic Growth, Version 1.0, a world economy based on consumption and waste, where we lived beyond the means of our planet's ecosystems and resources.The Great Disruption offers a stark and unflinching look at the challenge humanity faces-yet also a deeply optimistic message. The coming decades will see loss, suffering, and conflict as our planetary overdraft is paid; however, they will also bring out the best humanity can offer: compassion, innovation, resilience, and adaptability. Gilding tells us how to fight-and win-what he calls The One Degree War to prevent catastrophic warming of the earth, and how to start today.The crisis represents a rare chance to replace our addiction to growth with an ethic of sustainability, and it's already happening. It's also an unmatched business opportunity: Old industries will collapse while new companies will literally reshape our economy. In the aftermath of the Great Disruption, we will measure "growth" in a new way. It will mean not quantity of stuff but quality and happiness of life. Yes, there is life after shopping.

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.


"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

Product Details

  • File Size: 2075 KB
  • Print Length: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Press; 1 edition (March 29, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004QO9660
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #441,938 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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191 of 203 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The melting iceberg 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
5.0 out of 5 stars A strong voice for action April 6, 2011
By Sam
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
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Disrupted, but Not Defeated: We Shall Never Surrender!
By nature, I’m a doom n gloom kinda guy; just ask my friends. And Gilding’s book starts out that way; the picture he paints of the Earth’s near future isn’t a pretty one, not one... Read more
Published 13 days ago by Steve Bivans
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great book! If you read only one book about ...
This is a great book! If you read only one book about climate change and what to expect - this is it!!
Published 1 month ago by Kristin E. Adkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The best
Published 2 months ago by Jim Weber
5.0 out of 5 stars For intelligent decision-makers
An excellent, broad-ranging analysis. Not the usual starving-polar-bear tome. So good I bought 5 more cc for passing to selected contacts. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Vernon Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Mix of Facts and Hope!
Loved Tilton's emphasis on the science behind the looming global crisis, his practical approach and his rationale for a hopeful response! Read more
Published 6 months ago by J. Trimble
5.0 out of 5 stars Very eye opening
This book will make you think about the coming economic crisis and how that relates to our use of natural resources.
Published 9 months ago by Gary
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most important books I've ever read.
This book is life changing. Everybody should read it asap and take it to heart. The sooner we learn to stop our out of control consumption and waste, the sooner our planet can... Read more
Published 13 months ago by C. S. Powell
5.0 out of 5 stars The Great Disruption, a book that will alter your life choices
I am only at chapter Ten in this book ,but every page and every paragraph is so full of insight and facts, if you only have a very basic understanding of Climate Change and the... Read more
Published 14 months ago by mary partridge
2.0 out of 5 stars I am right so follow me! Give us a solid argument and perhaps we...
Some of the reviews point out that there are two books in one here. And they are right except for the fact that the arguments used in the first part of the book are just flat out... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Avalon
3.0 out of 5 stars Despair, hope and (perhaps unrealistic) idealism
This is Gilding's response to the despair many of us have felt when the implication of climate change sinks in. Read more
Published 15 months ago by M. Kerr
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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

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