- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Ruka Press; First Edition edition (April 23, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0985574828
- ISBN-13: 978-0985574826
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #818,169 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Pipeline and the Paradigm: Keystone XL, Tar Sands, and the Battle to Defuse the Carbon Bomb Paperback – April 23, 2013
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Almost unmentioned by the mainstream media a few years ago, the Keystone XL pipeline project, which would extend an existing oil pipeline from Canada to Texas refineries, suddenly became controversial when President Obama temporarily halted its construction in 2012. Environmentalists quickly vilified the pipeline as an agent in exacerbating global warming, while industrialists extolled its potential to create jobs and promote energy independence. No stranger to divisive ecological issues, Avery, a longtime social activist and solar-panel entrepreneur, offers a guided tour of all the contentious issues surrounding the pipeline, from climate scientists’ assertion that Canadian tar sands oil extraction will almost double atmospheric carbon dioxide to the risk of damaged ecosystems wherever the pipeline is built. While Avery gives pipeline promoters a fair hearing, it’s clear where his values lie in framing opposition to Keystone XL as the most critical environmental cause of our time. Allowing the project to continue could spell irreversible climate change, while blocking it would signal a global paradigm shift in finally putting our planet’s welfare above industry-driven profit. Extremely useful analysis as debate continues. --Carl Hays
“Environmental activist Avery travels the route of TransCanada’s controversial Keystone XL pipeline, engaging in frank and respectful dialogue with proponents and opponents. His finely researched book blazes with hope.” —Publishers Weekly
“Avery, a longtime social activist and solar-panel entrepreneur, offers a guided tour of all the contentious issues surrounding the pipeline. While Avery gives pipeline promoters a fair hearing, it’s clear where his values lie. Extremely useful analysis.” —Booklist
“A mixture of science, philosophy, and first-person advocacy. The book is adamantly anti-Keystone XL, but Sam Avery gives space to the other side, respectfully allowing them their say, and letting their side of the story deepen his thinking about the issue.” —NUVO
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When I read The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness and then, Transcendence of The Western Mind, I contacted Sam by email hoping he would be kind enough to answer some of the many questions his books raised in my mind. Later, to my great fortune, Sam invited me to work with him on his book Buddha and The Quantum. While on his book tour in Southern California he stayed at my house. Samuel Avery is one of the most excellent individuals I have ever known.
His new book, The Pipeline and The Paradigm: Keystone XL Tar Sands, and the Battle to Diffuse the Carbon Bomb, Sam, once again, demonstrates all the qualities described above. He has an uncanny ability to deal with difficult and complicated issues with a writing style that is simple, clear, easy to read and easy to understand. But more than that, in this book, his writing style demonstrates his kindness, compassion, gentility, competence and writing skill.
At one time, we believed the earth was the center of the universe, and all the heavenly bodies revolved around us. That was the Babylonian paradigm. Paradigm is a slippery word often referred to as a model. But it is much more than just a model. Sam offers Thomas Kuhn's definition for us to consider and keep in mind while reading The Pipeline and The Paradigm: "The paradigm, according to Kuhn, is not a theory or opinion, but the worldview within which theories or opinions are held. It is the difference between preference and undeniability: you may prefer to believe that the universe rotates around the earth, but you cannot reasonably deny the evidence that it does not."
His research for this book is impeccable and, while it is clear that Sam believes the Keystone XL pipeline represents a global disaster of epic proportions, he never resorts to tirades or turgid polemics. Instead he uses kindness, compassion and gentility in talking to people who are both for and against the pipeline. In doing this he provides a window into their consciousness allowing us to see how the paradigm they are in shapes their world view.
Sam's paradigm is different. "We really are standing at the edge of the world of familiar seasons, dependable food supply and a predictable future. This world will go away soon. Everyone should know this. The Keystone XL Pipeline and the Canadian tar sands are not just another environmental disaster, another issue to squeeze into a list of concerns, another thing to think about during the course of a busy day. Now is the beginning of the end of the life we have known.
This could be a good thing. The world we have known--the world of international division and unprincipled economic growth--is no longer viable and will not last whether we are "in favor" of it or not. There is no point in trying to preserve or destroy it. It will pass away of its own accord. Old paradigm questions such as "can we afford an environment?" or "is humanity in our national interest?" will fade away with the worldviews that ask them. But the new questions will come about only with awareness and intention. We will have to make it happen."
Samuel Avery makes his argument in a kind, gentle and compassionate way by sharing stories of people who disagree with him and telling us a story about paradigms and how they, ultimately, shape who we are, whether we like it or not.
When I think about Sam I'm reminded of the Buddhist aphorism: When the student is ready the master appears. That was my experience when I read Transcendence of the Western Mind. I had the same experience working with Sam on Buddha and the Quantum, and reading The Pipeline and the Paradigm.
Read this book, if for no other reason than to prepare yourself for the paradigm shift that will change the way we live forever.
The skilled questioning of those living along the pipeline route yields narratives that are enjoyable, illuminating, and diverse. The author allows everyone to tell her/his own story. In particular, Mr. Avery sought out those with views opposed to his own and treated everyone, regardless of their viewpoints, with equal compassion and good humor. Consequently, just as in real life, every person seems human and reasonable; no one is demonized...how refreshing.
Mr. Avery has a gift for communicating complex ideas in simple language. We don't know why we are, but we do know where we are; we are on planet Earth. Mr. Avery helps us cogitate on this simple truth. Although I thought I knew the facts and implications of the Keystone XL pretty well, this book greatly increased my understanding.
This is an account of a deadly serious problem told in an engaging and friendly way by a very wise human being. Read it.
But it is a sticky tar and must be upgraded to flow through the pipe. Upgrading requires burning other fossil fuels, adding 200 pounds of CO2 to the atmosphere for every barrel upgraded. Compared to refining conventional oil, it produces two to three times the sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, and particulate matter. Even now, 400 millions gallons of toxic waste water is produced every day at the tar sands.
Avery warns about the carbon dump. The tar sands contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global use in our entire history. He claims we will reach a threshold and we will not be able to rein it in.
Avery's book contains many facts but he also includes lots of personal stories. He shares the mind and spirit of people like himself, people who understand the earth is in crisis and feel that they have to do something about it. He travels to various places along the proposed pipeline, sharing stories of people intimidated, threatened with lawsuits, and some willing to endure the ramifications of civil disobedience. "We will keep the earth habitable not by destroying oil companies, but by igniting the conscience of their customers.
In the midst of his personal journey is information about feedback loops, climate change, fracking (an environmental nightmare all on its own, including unknown chemicals being pumped into the ground), and the transition from a national paradigm to a global one.
In the end, he encourages us to look at fossil fuels as transitional fuels. They have brought us to where we are. Now we need to be weened off of them to the emerging new ways to obtain and use energy.
Living in the Pacific Northwest, I've been more concerned with the coal train issue than I was with the pipeline. Having read this book, I now understand the global impact the tar sands and the pipeline might have on a global scale. Read this book and be awakened to what might be our children's future.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.