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Richard Heinberg - Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World

Thursday, November 04, 2004
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Event Type:
Jon Garfield
Location Details:
New College Theater
777 Valencia Street, San Francisco

Richard Heinberg

will speak on his new book,

Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World

Power-down \ \ n. 1. the energy famine that engulfed industrial nations in the early 21st century 2. the deliberate process of cooperation, contrac-tion, and conversion that enabled humanity to survive . . .

Author, journalist and educator Richard Heinberg speaks on Powerdown: Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World (New Society Publishers, July 2004)

Powerdown is an exploration of the realistic options that will be available to industrial societies, and individuals in those societies, in the dawning era of oil and natural gas depletion. It is a starkly frank look at our prospects as the industrial period winds toward its inevitable conclusion, and a discussion of what we can do to build a truly sustainable culture for our children and grandchildren.

If the leadership of the US continues with current policies, the next decades will be filled with war, economic collapse, and environmental catastrophe. Resource depletion and population pressure are about to catch up with us, and no one is prepared. The political elites, especially in the US, are incapable of dealing with the situation, and have in mind a punishing game of “Last One Standing.”

The alternative is “Powerdown,” a strategy that will require tremendous effort and economic sacrifice in order to reduce per-capita resource usage in wealthy countries, develop alternative energy sources, distribute resources more equitably, and humanely but systematically reduce the size of the human population over time. The world’s environmental, anti-war, anti-globalization, and human rights organizations are pushing for a mild version of this alternative, but for political reasons they de-emphasize the level of effort required and play down the population issue.

Meanwhile the vast majority of the world’s people are in the dark. They do not understand the challenge facing us, or the options realistically available. Politicians and the media offer denial and scapegoats while the world teeters on the brink of collapse.

Powerdown offers no facile answers to these dilemmas. Its purpose is not to persuade but to inform. It dares to speak frankly about our condition, but avoids cynicism and despair.

Richard Heinberg is the author of five previous books including The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies (New Society, 2003). He is a journalist, educator, editor, lecturer, and a Core Faculty member of New College of California, where he teaches courses on “Energy and Society” and “Culture, Ecology and Sustainable Community.” His monthly MuseLetter was nominated in 1994 by Utne Reader for an Alternative Press Award and has been included in Utne's annual list of Best Alternative Newsletters. His essays and articles have appeared in many journals including Z Magazine, The Futurist, Earth Island Journal, Wild Matters, Alternative Press Review, and The Sun.

$5-10 (no one turned away for lack of funds)

Co-sponsored by New College Center for Education and Social Action, Post Carbon institute, and Global Exchange.

For more information: 415-437-3425.

Added to the calendar on Sun, Oct 31, 2004 9:43PM
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