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Drilling Down

Drilling Down Author Joseph A. Tainter
ISBN-10 1441976779
Release 2011-09-18
Pages 242
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For more than a century, oil has been the engine of growth for a society that delivers an unprecedented standard of living to many. We now take for granted that economic growth is good, necessary, and even inevitable, but also feel a sense of unease about the simultaneous growth of complexity in the processes and institutions that generate and manage that growth. As societies grow more complex through the bounty of cheap energy, they also confront problems that seem to increase in number and severity. In this era of fossil fuels, cheap energy and increasing complexity have been in a mutually-reinforcing spiral. The more energy we have and the more problems our societies confront, the more we grow complex and require still more energy. How did our demand for energy, our technological prowess, the resulting need for complex problem solving, and the end of easy oil conspire to make the Deepwater Horizon oil spill increasingly likely, if not inevitable? This book explains the real causal factors leading up to the worst environmental catastrophe in U.S. history, a disaster from which it will take decades to recover.



Lessons amid the Rubble

Lessons amid the Rubble Author Sarah K. A. Pfatteicher
ISBN-10 9780801899508
Release 2010-12-29
Pages 192
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Sophisticated and engagingly written, this volume combines history, engineering, ethics, and philosophy to provoke a deep discussion about the symbolic meaning of buildings and other structures and the nature of engineering.



Energy and the Wealth of Nations

Energy and the Wealth of Nations Author Charles A.S. Hall
ISBN-10 9783319662190
Release 2018-03-05
Pages 511
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In this updated edition of a groundbreaking text, concepts such as energy return on investment (EROI) provide powerful insights into the real balance sheets that drive our “petroleum economy.” Hall and Klitgaard explore the relation between energy and the wealth explosion of the 20th century, and the interaction of internal limits to growth found in the investment process and rising inequality with the biophysical limits posed by finite energy resources. The authors focus attention on the failure of markets to recognize or efficiently allocate diminishing resources, the economic consequences of peak oil, the high cost and relatively low EROI of finding and exploiting new oil fields, including the much ballyhooed shale plays and oil sands, and whether alternative energy technologies such as wind and solar power can meet the minimum EROI requirements needed to run society as we know it. For the past 150 years, economics has been treated as a social science in which economies are modeled as a circular flow of income between producers and consumers. In this “perpetual motion” of interactions between firms that produce and households that consume, little or no accounting is given of the flow of energy and materials from the environment and back again. In the standard economic model, energy and matter are completely recycled in these transactions, and economic activity is seemingly exempt from the Second Law of Thermodynamics. As we enter the second half of the age of oil, when energy supplies and the environmental impacts of energy production and consumption are likely to constrain economic growth, this exemption should be considered illusory at best. This book is an essential read for all scientists and economists who have recognized the urgent need for a more scientific, empirical, and unified approach to economics in an energy-constrained world, and serves as an ideal teaching text for the growing number of courses, such as the authors’ own, on the role of energy in society.



America s Most Sustainable Cities and Regions

America   s Most Sustainable Cities and Regions Author John W. Day
ISBN-10 9781493932436
Release 2016-01-23
Pages 348
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This book takes you on a unique journey through American history, taking time to consider the forces that shaped the development of various cities and regions, and arrives at an unexpected conclusion regarding sustainability. From the American Dream to globalization to the digital and information revolutions, we assume that humans have taken control of our collective destinies in spite of potholes in the road such as the Great Recession of 2007-2009. However, these attitudes were formed during a unique 100-year period of human history in which a large but finite supply of fossil fuels was tapped to feed our economic and innovation engine. Today, at the peak of the Oil Age, the horizon looks different. Cities such as Los Angeles, Phoenix and Las Vegas are situated where water and other vital ecological services are scarce, and the enormous flows of resources and energy that were needed to create the megalopolises of the 20th century will prove unsustainable. Climate change is a reality, and regional impacts will become increasingly severe. Economies such as Las Vegas, which are dependent on discretionary income and buffeted by climate change, are already suffering the fate of the proverbial canary in the coal mine. Finite resources will mean profound changes for society in general and the energy-intensive lifestyles of the US and Canada in particular. But not all regions are equally vulnerable to these 21st-century megatrends. Are you ready to look beyond “America’s Most Livable Cities” to the critical factors that will determine the sustainability of your municipality and region? Find out where your city or region ranks according to the forces that will impact our lives in the next years and decades. Find out how: ·resource availability and ecological services shaped the modern landscape ·emerging megatrends will make cities and regions more or less livable in the new century ·your city or region ranks on a “sustainability” map of the United States ·urban metabolism puts large cities at particular risk ·sustainability factors will favor economic solutions at a local, rather than global, level ·these principles apply to industrial economies and countries globally. This book should be cited as follows: J. Day, C. Hall, E. Roy, M. Moersbaecher, C. D'Elia, D. Pimentel, and A. Yanez. 2016. America's most sustainable cities and regions: Surviving the 21st century megatrends. Springer, New York. 348 p.



Living Well Now and in the Future

Living Well Now and in the Future Author Randall Curren
ISBN-10 9780262339117
Release 2017-03-24
Pages 312
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Most people acknowledge the profound importance of sustainability, but few can define it. We are ethically bound to live sustainably for the sake of future generations, but what does that mean? In this book Randall Curren, a philosopher, and Ellen Metzger, a scientist, clarify normative aspects of sustainability. Combining their perspectives, they propose that sustainability can be understood as the art of living well together without diminishing opportunity to live well in the future.Curren and Metzger lay out the nature and value of sustainability, survey the problems, catalog the obstacles, and identify the kind of efforts needed to overcome them. They formulate an ethic of sustainability with lessons for government, organizations, and individuals, and illustrate key ideas with three case studies. Curren and Metzger put intergenerational justice at the heart of sustainability; discuss the need for fair (as opposed to coercive) terms of cooperation to create norms, institutions, and practices conducive to sustainability; formulate a framework for a fundamental ethic of sustainability derived from core components of common morality; and emphasize the importance of sustainability education. The three illustrative case studies focus on the management of energy, water, and food systems, examining the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Australia's National Water Management System, and patterns of food production in the Mekong region of Southeast Asia.



Energy and the Wealth of Nations

Energy and the Wealth of Nations Author Charles A.S. Hall
ISBN-10 9783319662190
Release 2018-03-05
Pages 511
Download Link Click Here

In this updated edition of a groundbreaking text, concepts such as energy return on investment (EROI) provide powerful insights into the real balance sheets that drive our “petroleum economy.” Hall and Klitgaard explore the relation between energy and the wealth explosion of the 20th century, and the interaction of internal limits to growth found in the investment process and rising inequality with the biophysical limits posed by finite energy resources. The authors focus attention on the failure of markets to recognize or efficiently allocate diminishing resources, the economic consequences of peak oil, the high cost and relatively low EROI of finding and exploiting new oil fields, including the much ballyhooed shale plays and oil sands, and whether alternative energy technologies such as wind and solar power can meet the minimum EROI requirements needed to run society as we know it. For the past 150 years, economics has been treated as a social science in which economies are modeled as a circular flow of income between producers and consumers. In this “perpetual motion” of interactions between firms that produce and households that consume, little or no accounting is given of the flow of energy and materials from the environment and back again. In the standard economic model, energy and matter are completely recycled in these transactions, and economic activity is seemingly exempt from the Second Law of Thermodynamics. As we enter the second half of the age of oil, when energy supplies and the environmental impacts of energy production and consumption are likely to constrain economic growth, this exemption should be considered illusory at best. This book is an essential read for all scientists and economists who have recognized the urgent need for a more scientific, empirical, and unified approach to economics in an energy-constrained world, and serves as an ideal teaching text for the growing number of courses, such as the authors’ own, on the role of energy in society.



The Energy of Slaves

The Energy of Slaves Author Andrew Nikiforuk
ISBN-10 9781553659792
Release 2012-08-17
Pages 272
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By the winner of the Rachel Carson Environment Book Award Ancient civilizations relied on shackled human muscle. It took the energy of slaves to plant crops, clothe emperors, and build cities. Nineteenth-century slaveholders viewed critics as hostilely as oil companies and governments now regard environmentalists. Yet the abolition movement had an invisible ally: coal and oil. As the world's most versatile workers, fossil fuels replenished slavery's ranks with combustion engines and other labor-saving tools. Since then, cheap oil has transformed politics, economics, science, agriculture, and even our concept of happiness. Many North Americans today live as extravagantly as Caribbean plantation owners. We feel entitled to surplus energy and rationalize inequality, even barbarity, to get it. But endless growth is an illusion. What we need, Andrew Nikiforuk argues in this provocative new book, is a radical emancipation movement that ends our master-and-slave approach to energy. We must learn to use energy on a moral, just, and truly human scale.



Gaviotas

Gaviotas Author Alan Weisman
ISBN-10 9781603580922
Release 2008-09-03
Pages 256
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Los Llanos—the rain-leached, eastern savannas of war-ravaged Colombia—are among the most brutal environments on Earth and an unlikely setting for one of the most hopeful environmental stories ever told. Here, in the late 1960s, a young Colombian development worker named Paolo Lugari wondered if the nearly uninhabited, infertile llanos could be made livable for his country’s growing population. He had no idea that nearly four decades later, his experiment would be one of the world’s most celebrated examples of sustainable living: a permanent village called Gaviotas. In the absence of infrastructure, the first Gaviotans invented wind turbines to convert mild breezes into energy, hand pumps capable of tapping deep sources of water, and solar collectors efficient enough to heat and even sterilize drinking water under perennially cloudy llano skies. Over time, the Gaviotans’ experimentation has even restored an ecosystem: in the shelter of two million Caribbean pines planted as a source of renewable commercial resin, a primordial rain forest that once covered the llanos is unexpectedly reestablishing itself. Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez has called Paolo Lugari “Inventor of the World.” Lugari himself has said that Gaviotas is not a utopia: “Utopia literally means ‘no place.’ We call Gaviotas a topia, because it’s real.” Relive their story with this special 10th-anniversary edition of Gaviotas, complete with a new afterword by the author describing how Gaviotas has survived and progressed over the past decade.



When Trucks Stop Running

When Trucks Stop Running Author Alice J. Friedemann
ISBN-10 9783319263755
Release 2015-12-09
Pages 132
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In lively and engaging language, this book describes our dependence on freight transport and its vulnerability to diminishing supplies and high prices of oil. Ships, trucks, and trains are the backbone of civilization, hauling the goods that fulfill our every need and desire. Their powerful, highly-efficient diesel combustion engines are exquisitely fine-tuned to burn petroleum-based diesel fuel. These engines and the fuels that fire them have been among the most transformative yet disruptive technologies on the planet. Although this transportation revolution has allowed many of us to fill our homes with global goods even a past emperor would envy, our era of abundance, and the freight transport system in particular, is predicated on the affordability and high energy density of a single fuel, oil. This book explores alternatives to this finite resource including other liquid fuels, truck and locomotive batteries and utility-scale energy storage technology, and various forms of renewable electricity to support electrified transport. Transportation also must adapt to other challenges: Threats from climate change, financial busts, supply-chain failure, and transportation infrastructure decay. Robert Hirsch, who wrote the “Peaking of World Oil Production” report for the U.S. Department of Energy in 2005, said that planning for peak world production must start at least 10, if not 20 years ahead of time. What little planning exists focuses mainly on how to accommodate 30 percent more economic growth while averting climate change, ignoring the possibility that we are at, or near, the end of growth. Taken for granted, the modern transportation system will not endure forever. The time is now to take a realistic and critical look at the choices ahead, and how the future of transportation may unfold.



The Dirty Energy Dilemma What s Blocking Clean Power in the United States

The Dirty Energy Dilemma  What s Blocking Clean Power in the United States Author Benjamin K. Sovacool
ISBN-10 9780313355417
Release 2008-10-30
Pages 320
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The American electric utility system is quietly falling apart. Once taken for granted, the industry has become increasingly unstable, fragmented, unreliable, insecure, inefficient, expensive, and harmful to our environment and public health. According to Sovacool, the fix for this ugly array of problems lies not in nuclear power or clean coal, but in renewable energy systems that produce few harmful byproducts, relieve congestion on the transmission grid, require less maintenance, are not subject to price volatility, and enhance the security of the national energy system from natural catastrophe, terrorist attack, and dependence on supply from hostile and unstable regions of the world. Here arises The Dirty Energy Dilemma: If renewable energy systems deliver such impressive benefits, why are they languishing at the margins of the American energy portfolio? And why does the United States lag so far behind Europe, where conversion to renewable energy systems has already taken off in a big way? Corporate media parrot industry PR that renewable technologies just aren't ready for prime time. But Sovacool marshals extensive field research to show that the only barrier blocking the conversion of a significant proportion of the U.S. energy portfolio to renewables is not technological—the technology is there—but institutional. Public utility commissioners, utility managers, system operators, business owners, and ordinary consumers are hobbled by organizational conservatism, technical incompatibility, legal inertia, weak and inconsistent political incentives, ill-founded prejudices, and apathy. The author argues that significant conversion to technologically proven clean energy systems can happen only if we adopt and implement a whole new set of policies that will target and dismantle the insidious social barriers that are presently blocking decisions that would so obviously benefit society.



Supply side Sustainability

Supply side Sustainability Author T. F. H. Allen
ISBN-10 0231105878
Release 2003
Pages 459
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This is the first book to integrate ecological and social science in an interdisciplinary treatment of sustainability. The book explains sustainability and collapse in human societies ranging from hunter-gatherers to empires and today's industrial world.



Energy Return on Investment

Energy Return on Investment Author Charles A.S. Hall
ISBN-10 9783319478210
Release 2016-11-29
Pages 174
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This authoritative but highly accessible book presents the reader with a powerful framework for understanding the critical role of the energy return on investment (EROI) in the survival and well-being of individuals, ecosystems, businesses, economies and nations. Growth and development are fundamental and ubiquitous processes at all scales, from individuals to food crops to national economies. While we are all familiar with the concepts of economic growth and living standards as measured by gross domestic product (GDP), we often take for granted the energy use that underpins GDP and our expectations for year-on-year growth. In this book, you will learn how these measures of “progress” are completely dependent on the balance that can be achieved between energy costs (inputs) and gains. Nothing is made or moved without an energy surplus, and it is the EROI of available energy sources more than any other single factor that determines the shape of civilization. Nearly all politics and economics assume that policy and market forces are the levers upon which future outcomes will hinge. However, this book presents many examples of historical and current events that can be explained much more clearly from an energetic perspective. In addition, a future scenario is developed that gives a central place to EROI in assessing the potential of governmental and private initiatives to substitute so-called renewable energy sources for diminishing stocks of fossil fuels. When cheap fossil fuels are no longer available in the abundance needed to mask economic problems and power business as usual, it will be EROI more than the plethora of “green” technologies that creates the boundary conditions for a sustainable future.



The Watchman s Rattle

The Watchman s Rattle Author Rebecca Costa
ISBN-10 9781593156503
Release 2010-10-12
Pages 384
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Why can't we solve our problems anymore? Why do threats such as the Gulf oil spill, worldwide recession, terrorism, and global warming suddenly seem unstoppable? Are there limits to the kinds of problems humans can solve? Rebecca Costa confronts- and offers a solution to-these questions in her highly anticipated and game-changing book, The Watchman's Rattle. Costa pulls headline for today's news to demonstrate how accelerating complexity quickly outpaces that rate at which the human brain can develop new capabilities. With compelling evidenced based on research in the rise and fall of Mayan, Khmer, and Roman empires, Costa shows how t ht tendency to find a quick solutions- leads to frightening long term consequence: Society's ability to solve its most challenging, intractable problems becomes gridlocked, progress slows, and collapse ensues. A provocative new voice in the tradition of thought leaders Thomas Friedman, Jared Diamond and Malcolm Gladwell, Costa reveals how we can reverse the downward spiral. Part history, part social science, part biology, The Watchman's Rattle is sure to provoke, engage and incite change.



Sustainability and Design Ethics

Sustainability and Design Ethics Author Tom Russ
ISBN-10 9781439808559
Release 2010-03-25
Pages 176
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From microcosm to macrocosm, ecodesign, green design, environmental design, and triple bottom line are quickly becoming more than just catchy phrases that describe touchy-feely trends. Increases in climate uncertainty and energy costs as well as food, water, and services insecurity are just a few of the challenges driving the growing demand for sustainable design outcomes. Sustainability and Design Ethics provides a systematic value analysis that makes a reasoned argument the rethinking of current design methods and the values and ethics which guide them. Providing context and language, this book delineates the ideas and principles that lie at the foundation of a variety of codes of ethics, and then critically analyzes existing published codes and the practices that stem from them. It takes a practical approach, discussing applied ethics, and relies upon an understanding of the moral reasoning that supports the ideas and professionalism and an ethical standard of care. Drawing on the author's experience as a design professional and his study of business ethics, this book supplies a detailed exposition of the underlying ethical reasoning involved in the challenges confronted by contemporary design professionals. This information can then be distilled into sustainable practices and the corresponding ethics. Sustainability requires design professionals to expand the considerations of design beyond the traditional ethical points of view and to provide a balanced analysis of how a sustainable standard of care might be composed. While other books might cover the environment and design, professional ethics are addressed as an afterthought at most, if at all. And no other book available explores sustainability from a designer’s perspective. Examining present and future issues facing practitioners, the book provides a context for the values and ethics necessary for sustainable development design.



The Collapse of Complex Societies

The Collapse of Complex Societies Author Joseph Tainter
ISBN-10 052138673X
Release 1990-03-29
Pages 250
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Dr Tainter describes nearly two dozen cases of collapse and reviews more than 2000 years of explanations. He then develops a new and far-reaching theory.



Collapse

Collapse Author Jared Diamond
ISBN-10 9780141976969
Release 2013-03-21
Pages 608
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From the author of Guns, Germs and Steel, Jared Diamond's Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive is a visionary study of the mysterious downfall of past civilizations. Now in a revised edition with a new afterword, Jared Diamond's Collapse uncovers the secret behind why some societies flourish, while others founder - and what this means for our future. What happened to the people who made the forlorn long-abandoned statues of Easter Island? What happened to the architects of the crumbling Maya pyramids? Will we go the same way, our skyscrapers one day standing derelict and overgrown like the temples at Angkor Wat? Bringing together new evidence from a startling range of sources and piecing together the myriad influences, from climate to culture, that make societies self-destruct, Jared Diamond's Collapse also shows how - unlike our ancestors - we can benefit from our knowledge of the past and learn to be survivors. 'A grand sweep from a master storyteller of the human race' Daily Mail 'Riveting, superb, terrifying' Observer 'Gripping ... the book fulfils its huge ambition, and Diamond is the only man who could have written it' Economist 'This book shines like all Diamond's work' Sunday Times Jared Diamond (b. 1937) is Professor of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles. Until recently he was Professor of Physiology at the UCLA School of Medicine. He is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the widely acclaimed Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies, which also is the winner of Britain's 1998 Rhone-Poulenc Science Book Prize.



The Limits to Growth Revisited

The Limits to Growth Revisited Author Ugo Bardi
ISBN-10 1441994165
Release 2011-05-27
Pages 119
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“The Limits to Growth” (Meadows, 1972) generated unprecedented controversy with its predictions of the eventual collapse of the world's economies. First hailed as a great advance in science, “The Limits to Growth” was subsequently rejected and demonized. However, with many national economies now at risk and global peak oil apparently a reality, the methods, scenarios, and predictions of “The Limits to Growth” are in great need of reappraisal. In The Limits to Growth Revisited, Ugo Bardi examines both the science and the polemics surrounding this work, and in particular the reactions of economists that marginalized its methods and conclusions for more than 30 years. “The Limits to Growth” was a milestone in attempts to model the future of our society, and it is vital today for both scientists and policy makers to understand its scientific basis, current relevance, and the social and political mechanisms that led to its rejection. Bardi also addresses the all-important question of whether the methods and approaches of “The Limits to Growth” can contribute to an understanding of what happened to the global economy in the Great Recession and where we are headed from there.