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The Post Carbon Reader: Managing the 21st Century's Sustainability Crises

4.22  ·  Rating Details  ·  167 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
This diverse collection by best-selling authors, renowned scientists, and experienced activists is an engaging and practical book that will be of interest to the lay reader as well as university students in both graduate and undergraduate courses.

The expert contributors to The Post Carbon Reader were asked to unflinchingly describe the deep and interconnected sustainabilit
Paperback, 523 pages
Published September 1st 2010 by Watershed Media
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 810)
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May 01, 2011 Kirsten rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Kirsten by: Random Barnes and Noble display
I really liked this book and the tone of it. It's a series of essays written by leading experts in various fields ranging from basic climate change to education, health care, energy, etc. The essays are short and very readable, and usually get straight to the point.

The authors have a good grip on what is happening now, and offer suggestions for what might be a good direction to head in the future. The suggestions are much more realist than idealist, and emphasize that we are beyond the preventi
Mar 22, 2013 Nathan rated it really liked it
What might a post-carbon future look like? The state of the planet and what we should do about it written by smart people looking at the facts. This is one of the best collections available of essays by key thinkers, scientists, educators, researchers, and players dealing with the increasingly dire realities of our age of climate change, resource depletion, and ecological toxicity. Comprehensive, sober, and sometimes dry assessments of the current state of climate change, biodiversity, populatio ...more
John Kaufmann
May 22, 2015 John Kaufmann rated it really liked it
Shelves: energy
Wide-ranging collection of essays on the issues and alternatives a post-carbon world would face - agriculture, food systems, alternative energy, housing, transportation, urban design, population growth and density, governance, etc.
Matthew Ciarvella
Nov 23, 2015 Matthew Ciarvella rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
If I could force people to read one book, I think it would be this one. That's a weird thing to say, isn't it? It's an even weirder compliment to give a work. But here's the thing: this book, divided up into numerous essays on many different aspects of climate change, sustainability, and other eco-topics, is well argued and well constructed. This is eco-reading that's on an entirely different scale; very little attention is paid to any of the soft, fluffy appeals to "mother earth" or "the beauti ...more
The Hermit's
Aug 14, 2015 The Hermit's rated it it was amazing
We may have avoided peak oil for a while witmore intensive drilling done in the United States but we are going to have to face it full-on sometime in my lifetime. Here are some quotes I found to be insightful:

"very little of the grain grown in the United States is destined for bread, or other human food: It's far more likely to be fed to animals. This is wasteful. The digestive system of cattle evolved to process grass, not grain."

"The unexpected result of efficiency gains leading to grester res
Dec 27, 2010 Ethan rated it liked it
This book promises to illustrate the interconnected challenges that humanity faces in the near future (read:TODAY) while at the same time providing concrete actions that can be taken to mitigate them and prepare. The wide ranging essays do indeed cover the gamut; climate, biodiversity, energy, economics, pollution, population, food, water etc are all thoughtfully addressed, sometimes to the point of repetition.

I will say however, that the takeaway any thinking person should have is that the odds
Oct 27, 2011 Briana rated it really liked it
Overall, "The Post Carbon Reader" is a great primer on sustainability. Organized as an anthology, each section of essays covers major topics in sustainability, such as climate, energy, water, transportation, food, and waste. It also includes a small, brief section on Transition Towns. Each author uses relatively lay terms to explain sustainability, which is excellent for people who lack significant background in the topic, but leaves those of us who actually study sustainability, yearning for mo ...more
May 18, 2015 Nate rated it liked it
Shelves: science
This is a collection of many essays and articles written by many of the great thinkers on climate change and sustainability issues. For the most part it's pretty informative, and I'm glad I gave it a look. If you want to learn about the myriad ways our society depends on the environment, the ways we're undermining that, and how we could do better, it's a great resource. You can pick it up now and again and just read a section at a time, so don't be turned off by how thick the book is.

The one cri
Jan 19, 2012 Daniel added it
We're really glad to see that so many people have enjoyed The Post Carbon Reader !

If you'd like to connect with other readers and the contributors to this book, be sure to visit our pages on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Most of the book (as well as some extras) is now available for free download at You can also find some of our related videos there, including our ever-popular 300 Years of Fossil Fuels in 300 Seconds.

Daniel Lerch
Publications Director
Post Carbon Institute
Apr 07, 2014 Rob rated it liked it
It's an uneven book with good chapters and bad chapters. Be careful. This book claims we have already reached peak oil when really we haven't (
Sam Dye
Sep 06, 2011 Sam Dye rated it really liked it
Remarkable book. Analysis by multiple authors of our current state with fossil fuel limitations vs the environment vs the recession. I am reading some chapters again because there is so much information. The earth is getting warmer and we are now absorbing only 20% of our carbon production. This is something that we all are going to have to deal with at some time. Better to look closely at it now because it appears that it is only going to get worse. There is a section on food storage and the im ...more
May 13, 2014 Wynn rated it it was amazing
Enough people are articulating the problem. This book gets on with the answers. Heinberg is a badass.
Amanda Wolf
May 03, 2011 Amanda Wolf rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sustainability
This was actually one of the best books I've read so far regarding sustainability. There are a lot of great authors that are doing great work. This was the first book to really give you hope. It may be a slow process, but I think we have a chance of entering into a post carbon world with some ease. At least I hope. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in sustainability or just curious. It is easy to read and very informative.
May 21, 2012 Chris rated it really liked it
I liked this collection of essays quite a bit. I found many fascinating and concise excerpts detailing the challenges that we as a species will face in the future post-carbon world. I highly recommend this to people of a progressive mindset and I'm not confident that the book would be as well received by those with an inherently opposed worldview. For this reason, I am afraid books like this preach to the choir.
Matthew Grote
Reading PCR for a Sustainable Development class. It is a book you can jump around while reading, picking topics that interest you and skipping others without losing too much substance. Great overview of all things sustainable, brushing on a lot of aspects, while aiding in further learning if a topic peaks your interest. Still working my way through it, but it's excellent so far.
Currently I've read 4 of the essays all the way through, and skimmed the rest. Current opinion: this is the book I want to do a discussion seminar on. It's fantastically solutions focused, and also eminently practical. Are there topics missing or which could have more depth? Sure - but that's what the seminar is for. Worth buying even though you can download a lot of it for free.
Garth Moore
Oct 30, 2010 Garth Moore rated it really liked it
Shelves: climate
A great book (so far) on what sustainability really means in terms of energy, climate, water, population. I liked the five axioms of sustainability, but unnerving in that we've identified the issues, looking for solutions.
Jun 10, 2012 Anita rated it really liked it
This is one of the most comprehensive and informative books I've read about sustainability. I didn't always agree with the conclusions, but the authors gave me plenty to think about and explore further.
Hanna Winter
Apr 25, 2011 Hanna Winter rated it liked it
Pretty good - this book is a compilation of essays be different authors all writing about different aspects of the challenges that need to be coped with in the fact of climate change and peak oil.
Marts  (Thinker)
Sep 08, 2011 Marts (Thinker) marked it as sounds-interesting
An interesting title on sustainability, the amazon website provides some more detail and a 'look inside', check it out:
Mar 31, 2012 Andrea rated it really liked it
Excellent series of essays on the global post-carbon era and what we need to do face the challenges of peak oil and diminishing economic and ecological resources.
May 21, 2013 Naomi rated it really liked it
Shelves: ecology
Understandable and accessible essays on moving well into the post-carbon world. Recommended.
Jul 05, 2011 Will rated it it was amazing
Shelves: peak-oil-books
fantastic book - a "sustainability bootcamp" in a book
Oct 18, 2013 Mark rated it really liked it
Exhaustive and a bit idealistic.
Jan 08, 2013 Michael rated it really liked it
Thoroughly depressing
Jan 04, 2011 Tod rated it it was amazing
Absolutely the most useful, best written of the sustainability/peak oil/relocalization texts on the market. A must own.
May 02, 2011 Karen rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
Class text.
João Abegão
João Abegão marked it as to-read
Jul 23, 2016
Aaron Bartsch
Aaron Bartsch marked it as to-read
Jul 23, 2016
Gonen marked it as to-read
Jul 22, 2016
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