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The Energy Reader takes an unflinching look at the environmental devastation created by our thirst for energy—including supposedly “clean” renewable sources. From oil spills, nuclear accidents, and mountaintop-removal coal mining to oversized wind farms and desert-destroying solar power plants, virtually every region of the globe is now experiencing the consequences of out-of-control energy development. Essentially no place is sacred, no landscape safe from the relentless search for energy resources to continue powering a culture based on perpetual growth. Precious wildlands, fragile ecosystems, even our own communities and children’s health are at risk.
Featuring essays by more than thirty of the most brilliant minds in the fields of energy, society, and ecology, The Energy Reader lifts the veil on the harsh realities of our pursuit of energy at any price, revealing the true costs, benefits, and limitations of all our energy options. Contributors include Wes Jackson, Bill McKibben, Sandra B. Lubarsky, Richard Heinberg, Philip Cafaro, Wendell Berry, Juan Pablo Orrego. Collectively, they offer a wake-up call about the future of energy and what each of us can do to change course.
Ultimately, the book offers not only a deep critique of the current system that is toxic to nature and people, but also a hopeful vision for a future energy economy—in which resilience, health, beauty, biodiversity, and durability, not incessant growth, are the organizing principles.
Tom Butler is an activist and writer whose books include Plundering Appalachia and Wildlands Philanthropy.
George Wuerthner is a photographer and author who has published more than 30 books on America’s wild places.
As Publications Director of Post Carbon Institute, Daniel Lerch is the lead editor and manager of the Institute's major print publications.
Richard Heinberg is a leading thinker on peak oil and the author of many books, including The Party’s Over, Powerdown, and The End of Growth.