The Future Is Not What It Used to Be
Climate Change and Energy Scarcity
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: The MIT Press
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Our outlook on the future changes as time goes by, just as the horizon changes when we walk. Fifty years ago, people all over the world saw themselves moving toward different but equally prosperous visions of the future: capitalist progress and growth in the West, socialist progress and welfare in the East, and emancipatory progress and development in ...
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This book could not have been written without the suggestions and comments of numerous friends and colleagues. It has emerged over an extended period, and I beg for pardon should I have omitted any of them from my list: Jocelyn Alexander, Mary Bagg, Sing Chew, Hugh Dyer, Matthew Eagleton-Pierce, Rosalba Fratini, Xiaolan Fu, Andreas Gold-...
1 The Transitory Nature of Industrial Society
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There is a wry little tale about a turkey. The turkey observes that the farmer brings food every morning without fail, and so concludes that it is well provided for and has nothing to fear. As the weeks go by, it becomes fatter and maintains its comfortable view of the world until its complacency is shattered on the eve of Thanksgiving when the farmer ...
2 Climate Change and Energy Scarcity
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...“ Think globally, act locally ” has always been a strange slogan. Undoubt-edly all action must happen in a place, but how can global problems be addressed unless the framework for action is also global? Local action can save the California condor and the Alabama beach mouse, but it cannot solve the planetary problem of biodiversity loss. Nor can it solve ...
3 What the Climate Can Change
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Society can change climate, and climate can change society. Climate change can have social and political effects in many different ways, but the most basic ones are related to human needs. Our subsistence depends on food, drink, and shelter. Food depends on agriculture, while drink depends on fresh water. Agriculture also depends on fresh water, as well ...
4 When Energy Runs Short
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There is no denying that industrial society runs on energy, and especially on oil, so a serious fuel shortage can bring it to the brink. Most readers will associate fuel shortages with the oil crises of the 1970s, but it is important to note that in neither of these cases did the supply shortfall last for more than a few months or amount to more than 7 percent of ...
5 The Struggle over Knowledge
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A battle is raging over knowledge about climate change and energy scarcity. The fundamental bone of contention is the same in either case. Do we really have to worry, or can we discard it all as scaremongering? In either case, the answer to that question determines the frontlines of In the case of energy, the stronghold of mainstream expertise is kept ...
6 The Moral Economy of Inaction
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What prevents us, together and as moral individuals, from confronting existential problems such as climate change and energy scarcity? On the face of it, an effective response is hindered not just by the inadequacy of existing knowledge regimes but also by a confluence of behavioral and cognitive dispositions. Despite the inescapability of the impasse and the ...
7 Where to Go from Here
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Most people act like the inductivist turkey in chapter 1. They trust that what has sustained our prosperity and growth in the past will continue to do so. Even ecologically sensitive individuals and groups focus on mitigating damage caused by industrial society, rather than confronting the disconcerting fact that industrial society as such is the least sustain-...
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Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2013