- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Press; Reprint edition (February 7, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1608193535
- ISBN-13: 978-1608193530
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 90 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #955,229 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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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About the Author
Paul Gilding is an international thought leader and advocate for sustainability. He has served as head of Greenpeace International, built and led two companies, and advised both Fortune 500 corporations and community-based NGOs. A member of the core faculty for the University of Cambridge's Programme for Sustainability Leadership, he lives in Tasmania with his family.
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Gilding draws upon the science of climate change to warn us, again, that the end of civilization ‘as we know it’ is upon us. The clues are all around us: economic crashes, unstable oil prices, depleted soil injected with poisons to produce cancerous food, revolutions, refugees, war, and an addiction with economic growth. It is this addiction, that in the end, will drive us over the cliff. Infinite growth is a mathematical impossibility in a world of finite resources. Consumerist-Capitalism is dead, and it’s time to bury it.
Gilding doesn’t just rely on the ‘science’ to make his case; even the ‘forefathers’ of our capitalist system, John Maynard Keynes, John Stuart Mill, and the man who arguably started it all, Adam Smith, all pointed to the end of growth and a time when we would exploit our resources beyond what they would supply. That time has come. To argue otherwise might make you feel better, but it won’t change the facts. The only real question left is, “What the hell do we do now?”
Luckily, Gilding isn’t just a doom n gloom kinda guy—neither am I, anymore—he’s actually an optimist. Gilding does NOT think we will slip into chaos. Gilding draws on the example of WWII, when freedom-loving peoples all over the world banded together to defeat the threat from fascist dictators. Even then, our grandparents and great-grandparents waited till it was almost too late, as we have done. But just like them, Gilding argues that when the crisis finally hits home, we will be moved to swift action to deal with the real dangers of climate change, and that during that process, we will find a way to build a better, more balanced, happier world.
If you want my opinion—and I’m sure you do since you’re reading this damned review—I think he’s dead on. We WILL wake up in time to save the Earth, and our place on it. How will that happen? Mostly, it will be the job of you and I, the little people of the planet, just like it was for the Greatest Generation, when Hitler came knockin’. Yes, our governments, and the business sector will play a major role in the early process, because they won’t have a choice; they’ll either get it done, or be replaced. But most of the work falls to us, the ordinary, average people of the world. Read the book! Then let’s get to work!
But he nevers says what is going to happen, and he provides absolutely no factual basis for his belief that it will take place within the next ten years. The other points he makes in the book are already common knowledge for people interested in the subject.
The second half of the book is farcical romp through alternative energy options that will save the survivors. Of course, he never critically examines whether any of these options are feasible (e.g., a solar panel in every yard). In fact, if he had read the sources he cites in the first half of the book (The Long Emergency and The Vanishing Face of Gaia) he would realize alternative energy will not save us.
This is not even pseudo-science. It's merely the musings of an environmental activists. Read the aforementioned books and skip this one.
If you are looking for a better view of changes in the environment and climate I would suggest reading Fred Pearce's book "With Speed and Violence". It is thoughtful and tackles the subject thoroughly rather than this weak attempt. The state of the art seems to be deep concern amongst researchers, but this problem is so large and so complex that researchers do not have solid representations in their models of how the system actually works and will react. What appears to be consistent, despite inadequate modeling capabilities, is that researchers are coming to the conclusion that climate change could be far more abrupt and impactful on human populations than anyone can currently fathom.
Because the first third of the great disruption is so weak, the rest of the book is a real struggle and reads as a waste of time. I would look elsewhere for thoughtful comments or reading on climate change.