Darrin Qualman’s book, Civilization Critical, is now available

Civilization Critical, Darrin Qualman, front cover

My book is done!  Published and printed!  I’m very excited.  I’ve included information on ordering and availability below.

The title is Civilization Critical: Energy, Food, Nature, and the Future.  The book charts the past, present, and possible futures of our global petro-industrial consumerist civilization.  It looks at how we produce our food and how we fuel and provision the incredibly powerful systems of industry.  The book includes chapters on energy, the Industrial Revolution, transport, farming, efficiency, and progress.

Most important, Civilization Critical provides a wholly new analysis of our problems and their potential solutions—new ideas about material and energy flows and the structure of global civilization.  The book argues that a nineteenth- and twentieth-century transition to linear systems and away from the circular patterns of nature (and of all previous civilizations) is the foundational error—the underlying problem, the root cause of climate change, resource depletion, oceans full of plastics, and a host of mega-problems now intensifying and merging, with potentially civilization-cracking results.

So?  Are we doomed?  No.  Doom is a choice.  One we’re currently making, but there are other options.  The book concludes that we face a momentous decision.  On the one hand, we possess a profusion of technologies and options that can deliver us from our predicament: solar panels, wind turbines, electric transport, low-emission agriculture, aggressive recycling, increased economic equality and security, and improved systems of governance.  On the other hand, we remain committed to increasing consumption and economic growth such that current plans—two to three percent economic growth per year—will cause the global economy to grow eight times larger in the coming century.  We possess powerful means of destruction, but also of deliverance.  Civilization Critical lays bare our choice, and the very negative or very positive outcomes within our grasp.

How to get a copy of Civilization Critical

The book is available directly from the publisher, Fernwood Press.  The cost is $25 plus $5 shipping.  https://fernwoodpublishing.ca/book/civilization-critical

The book is in stock in Saskatoon at Turning the Tide books, 615 Main Street (just off Broadway).  https://turning.ca/  Turning the Tide will also ship books throughout Canada and the United States.

You can order Civilization Critical at your favourite bookstore.  Please support local, independent bookstores.

And, of course, it’s available from Amazon.

Introduction to my blog, and to my forthcoming book

Welcome to Graphic Descriptions and my first post. Each week I will publish a new graph that will provide insights into the core processes, flows, energy sources, and transformations that underpin our immensely powerful, productive, and perilous 21st century civilization.

I’m interested in several questions, including, how did more than a billion of us come to live so well? What can history tell us about the future of our food and energy systems? Can we maintain “normal” 20th century economic growth rates through the 21st century? Is it wise to try? What can we learn from material flows within rainforests and coral reefs that will enable us to restructure our civilization so that it might be possible to keep some version of it functioning for hundreds or thousands of years into the future? How will our grandchildren heat their homes and charge their phones?

This blog is a companion to my forthcoming book. That book is complete and I hope that it can be published in 2017 or ’18. Like this blog, my book focuses on our global 21st century civilization. It explores our history, including the transformation of food and energy systems, with the aim of illuminating our future. If we do not understand how our 21st century civilization works, we can neither direct it, nor protect it.

I will post regular updates on this site regarding my book and its availability.

Welcome to Graphic Descriptions, and to a weekly exploration of the energy sources, processes, perils, and possible futures of the most powerful civilization that has ever existed on Earth.