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Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of…
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Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines (New Society… (2007)

by Richard Heinberg

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Whilst it would be easy to dismiss Richard Heinberg as a grumpy pastoralist who wishes us all to return to the land, he does raise many valid points about modern society's reliance on cheap energy and the token dismissal of future energy problems being solved by the vague cloud of "technology".

I do however feel his love of primitive peoples undermines some of his arguments. Whilst the series of essays has some good material in terms of Peak Oil, evolution of modern society and America's post ww2 boom, there's some curveballs in there. One such example is as a "letter from the future" which takes an otherwise non fiction book straight into the realm of speculative fiction and just feels out of place; it almost reads as a blurb of a teen dystopian novel.

Overall, it's not a bad book on the topic of society's decline but I wouldn't be rushing out for a copy. ( )
  HenriMoreaux | Dec 31, 2015 |
Heinberg has written a very different sort of 'peak oil' book with Peak Everything. Rather than focusing on the technical issues- e.g. when certain events are likely to occur, economic and political impacts etc- he's decided to look at it all from a social and historical perspective, which is the sort of thing I'm more interested in. So there are chapters on how technology controls us, the effect of fossil fuels and consumerist philosophy on art and architecture, the psychology of peak oil and climate change and the power of language. I was particularly fascinated by Heinberg's brief outlines of recent history, and how the energy provided by fossil fuels can be seen as responsible for almost all aspects of society- including movements like feminism (described by Heinberg as "an inevitable byproduct" of the need to continue economic expansion and keep consumerism going), and how the baby boomer generation turned out.

Unsurprisingly, this isn't the happiest of books- I can't imagine an informative book on the near future of civilisation being so- with the exception of the rather inspiring chapter 50 Million Farmers, though even that may be looked at in a depressing manner by some. But Heinberg gives the reader a lot of food for thought, and, while he never tries to deny the fact that this is all very depressing stuff, his generally sympathetic, friendly tone always reminds you that you're not alone in this.

Peak Everything certainly isn't a book for those new to the peak oil issue, and the issues that always come with it, but for those looking for a less technical, more philosophical look at it, this is highly recommended reading. ( )
  BenDV | Sep 14, 2010 |
I read the book based upon the author's interview on Chicago public radio. In many ways, he shares the same world view of James Kunstler (The Long Emergency). I liked 'A Letter From The Future'--dystopian, yet strangely comforting, as there is still time to avert this worst-case scenario.
  chilee | Mar 25, 2009 |
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During the past few years the phrase Peak Oil has entered the global lexicon.
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"The 21st century ushered in a new era of declines in a number of crucial areas: global oil, natural gas and coal extraction; availability of fresh water; yearly grain harvests; economic growth; extraction rates for minerals and ores; and climate stability." "Peak Everything addresses the personal, psychological, and cultural challenges we face as nature rapidly dictates our new limits. Richard Heinberg offers a combination of commentary and forecasting on subjects as diverse as farming and industrial design."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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New Society Publishers

2 editions of this book were published by New Society Publishers.

Editions: 086571598X, 0865716455

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