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August 08 , 2009


Society Beyond Fossil Fuels


Climate change, along with the depletion of oil, coal, and gas, dictate that we will inevitably move away from our profound societal reliance on fossil fuels; but just how big a transformation will this be? While many policy-makers assume that renewable energy sources will provide an easy "plug-and-play" solution, author Richard Heinberg suggests instead that we are in for a wild ride; a "civilization reboot" on a scale similar to the agricultural and industrial revolutions.

Afterburn consists of fifteen essays exploring various aspects of the twenty-first century migration away from fossil fuels including:

  • Short-term political and economic factors that impede broad-scale, organized efforts to adapt
  • The origin of longer-term trends (such as consumerism), that have created a way of life that seems "normal" to most Americans, but is actually unprecedented, highly fragile, and unsustainable
  • Potential opportunities and sources of conflict that are likely to emerge

From the inevitability and desirability of more locally organized economies to the urgent need to preserve our recent cultural achievements and the futility of pursuing economic growth above all, Afterburn offers cutting-edge perspectives and insights that challenge conventional thinking about our present, our future, and the choices in our hands.

Richard Heinberg is a senior fellow of the Post Carbon Institute, the author of eleven previous books including The Party's Over and The End of Growth. He is widely regarded as one of the world's most effective communicators of the urgent need to transition away from fossil fuels.

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