Future Scenarios: Mapping the Cultural Implications of Peak Oil and Climate Change

Future Scenarios: Mapping the Cultural Implications of Peak Oil and Climate Change


By (author) David Holmgren

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  • Publisher: GREEN BOOKS
  • Format: Paperback | 144 pages
  • Dimensions: 138mm x 216mm x 13mm | 212g
  • Publication date: 2 April 2009
  • Publication City/Country: Totnes
  • ISBN 10: 1900322501
  • ISBN 13: 9781900322508
  • Sales rank: 562,682

Product description

Human civilisation today faces two unprecedented challenges: the threat of climate change and the peaking of global oil supply. Energy supply has been one of the strongest factors in determining human history, and there are strong signs that we are now in the early stages of an energy transition that will shake our economy to its core. At the same time, the accelerating evidence of climate change has made this environmental crisis a top international priority. Rarely are these two issues considered in combination, but each affects the way we can respond to the other. The possibilities for our future range from 'techno-explosion' to civilisation collapse - but another possibility is energy descent, where available energy and organisational complexity progressively decline. Many sustainability strategists believe that energy descent may be inevitable. There is a desperate need to recast energy descent as a positive process that can free people from the dysfunctions of growth economics. Future Scenarios uses a planning model incorporating the spectrums of climate change and peak oil to generate four 'energy descent' scenarios - 'brown tech', 'green tech', 'lifeboats' and 'Earth steward' - representing various future pathways. It uses the principles of permaculture - a design system founded on reduced resource availability - to show how we can deal with energy descent in the most graceful way possible.

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Author information

David Holmgren is the co-originator, with Bill Mollison, of the permaculture concept. He lives with his partner and their son at Melliodora, a permaculture demonstration site at Hepburn Springs, Victoria, Australia. David's website can be found at www.holmgren.com.au .

Review quote

David Holmgren is the most important futurist in the world right now Adam Grubb, founder of Energy Bulletin

Table of contents

1. Introduction: Energy and history Energetic and ecological foundations of human history The next energy transition 2. Energy futures Four energy futures Views of the future 3. Climate change and peak oil Climate change Energy reserves and production peaks Collapsing oil exports Net energy return Associated issues 4. Descent scenarios Scenario planning Interaction of peak oil and climate change The four energy-descent and climate-change scenarios Scenarios summary 5. Interpreting the scenarios Global and local perspectives Cuba: brown tech, green tech or Earth steward? Depressing and positive scenarios Different scenarios in different places Stepped energy-descent pathways linking the scenarios Nested scenarios Relevance of mainstream ideas of sustainability to energy descent Relevance of environmental principles Meta-scenarios of permaculture 6. Conclusion Notes