"One of those who has been warning me of [a coming crisis] for a long time is Paul Gilding, the Australian environmental business expert. He has a name for this moment-when both Mother Nature and Father Greed have hit the wall at once-'The Great Disruption.' "-Thomas Friedman in the New York Times
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.
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 Cambridge University Program for Sustainability Leadership, he blogs at www.paulgilding.com, and his newsletter, the Cockatoo Chronicles, has subscribers around the world.
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 “face 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 “happiness economy” may astonish readers, but the book provides a refreshing, provocative alternative to the recent spate of gloom-and-doom climate-change studies. (Mar.)
Civilization is on a collision course, warns Gilding, former head of Greenpeace International and adviser to Fortune 500 companies, as he details dire stats: humans using 140 percent of Earth's resources, overpopulation, fisheries collapsing, deforestation, extreme weather, and lots of scary math. He advocates putting the world on an economic war footing, as during World War II. His "One-Degree War" is an action plan to reduce the planet's temperature, caused by greenhouse gases, to only one percent higher than at the start of the Industrial Revolution. Gilding maintains that the real solution is changing world economies from spiraling growth to a steady state. The goal is to upgrade goods and services to meet needs, not to pump up a gross national product that takes no account of quality of life. This joins similar recent books such as Thomas L. Friedman's Hot, Flat, and Crowded and Clive Hamilton's Requiem for a Species. VERDICT 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 readers to pursue. For general readers and programs with a sustainability component.—Michal Strutin, Santa Clara Univ. Lib., CA
A leading advocate for action on climate change asserts that the world is already in the midst of a global emergency that will mark not the collapse of civilization, but a positive transformation of society.
Gilding, former chief of Greenpeace International, argues that our planet cannot sustain the present rate of economic growth and that the crash of the global ecosystem is now underway. While the coming social and economic stresses will be enormous, the author sees the disruption as an exciting opportunity for humanity to make a great leap forward. Updating his 2005 paper "Scream Crash Boom," in which he predicted that economic and social crises would drive an investment boom in a new industrial revolution and economic transformation, Gilding here expands the scream, sounded first in the early '60s by Rachel Carson inSilent Spring; the crash, which became apparent in 2008; and the boom, which must be the response. He states that the end of economic growth and the threat of climate change will provoke both massive technological changes and profound sociological changes, and that while some people will act selfishly out of fear, many will act positively. The author foresees a society "built on the quality of life, a more equitable sharing of the world's wealth, and learning to operate in harmony with the ecosystem's capacity to support us." He cites dozens of examples of positive changes that are already underway, such as Recycle Bank, an American business that has increased recycling by rewarding recyclers; Ocado, a British supermarket that has reduced its carbon footprint; Sodra, a sustainable-forestry company in Sweden; and E+Co, a nonprofit organization bringing clean energy to developing countries around the globe. Gilding acknowledges that these are small changes, but they demonstrate the capacity of humans to find cooperative and innovative solutions to tough problems.
A remarkably optimistic view of the brave new world in our future—certain to be widely and strongly challenged.
"We're in the rapids now, heading for the falls, too late to swim for shore. But Paul Gilding offers some excellent insights into how we might weather that which we can no longer completely prevent--and how we can still prevent that which we won't be able to weather. If you're planning to stick around for the 21st century, this might be a useful book to consult."--Bill McKibben, author of "Eaarth", founder of 350.org.
"Gilding offers a clear-eyed and moving assessment of our predicament but more importantly, he offers a plausible way forward and good reasons to think we will rise to the occasion. His message is that our situation is dire, but we will act because we must. Essential reading."--David W. Orr, Paul Sears Distinguished Professor, Oberlin College, author of "Hope is an Imperative" and "Down to the Wire"
"One of those who has been warning me [about a climate crisis] for a long time is Paul Gilding, the Australian environmental business expert. He has a name for this moment -- when both Mother Nature and Father Greed have hit the wall at once -- 'The Great Disruption.'"--Thomas Friedman in the "New York Times""An Australian former director of Greenpeace International, Gilding says that our current economic model is driving the system over a cliff. We are already living beyond the planet's capacity to support us and a crisis is no longer avoidable. ... But this is actually a good thing. It will force us to learn that there is more to life than shopping.--"Times" (UK)
"A refreshing, provocative alternative to the recent spate of gloom-and-doom climate-change studies."-- "Publishers Weekly"
"A remarkably optimistic view of the brave new world in our future"--"Kirkus"
Number Of Pages: 292
Published: 29th March 2011
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Dimensions (cm): 23.6 x 16.3 x 3.0
Weight (kg): 0.476