The Great ChangeLet the fun begin!

I was in New York in the 30’s. I had a box seat at the depression. I can assure you it was a very educational experience. We shut the country down because of monetary reasons. We had manpower and abundant raw materials. Yet we shut the country down. We’re doing the same kind of thing now but with a different material outlook. We are not in the position we were in 1929–30 with regard to the future. Then the physical system was ready to roll. This time it’s not. We are in a crisis in the evolution of human society. It’s unique to both human and geologic history. It has never happened before and it can’t possibly happen again. You can only use oil once. You can only use metals once. Soon all the oil is going to be burned and all the metals mined and scattered.

M. King Hubbert, 1983

Initially it will be denied. There will be much lying and obfuscation. Then prices will rise and demand will fall. The rich will outbid the poor for available supplies. The system will initially appear to rebalance. The dash for gas will become more frenzied. People will realize nuclear power stations take up to ten years to build. People will also realize wind, waves, solar and other renewables are all pretty marginal and take a lot of energy to construct. There will be a dash for more fuel-efficient vehicles and equipment. The poor will not be able to afford the investment or the fuel. Exploration and exploitation of oil and gas will become completely frenzied. More and more countries will decide to reserve oil and later gas supplies for their own people. Air quality will be ignored as coal production and consumption expand once more. Once the decline really gets under way, liquids production will fall relentlessly by five percent per year. Energy prices will rise remorselessly. Inflation will become endemic. Resource conflicts will break out.

Colin Campbell, March 2002

The Post-Petroleum
Survival Guide and Cookbook
Recipes for Changing Times
By Albert K. Bates

ISBN: 9780865715684

Call toll free from USA and Canada
1-800-567-6772 ext 111

order online now

The Great Change:

We are in a defining phase of human evolution. Fail, and we relegate life on the planet to fungi deep in caves and bacteria on the ocean floor, if that. Succeed, and we take the next step in our own progress as a species — and life is, once again, truly great.

The current mix of challenges before us include:

The Energy Crisis: we have exhausted a supply of fossil sunlight hundreds of millions of years in the making. That savings account is half gone and what's left may be too valuable to burn. Now we have to learn to budget our energy expenses from our daily solar income.

The Resource Crisis: Malthus was nearly right, but didn't foresee technological advances. Limits to Growth was spot on! We have exceeded the carrying capacity of the planet for this many humans consuming this much of everything. We have to tear up the credit cards and live within our budget. We have to make space for all the other species and the web of nature that supports the whole ballgame.

The Climate Crisis: The budget is now 350 parts per million of carbon (equivalent) in the atmosphere. We are already committed north of 430, which means we need to sequester more than we emit, immediately, or 6 degrees, 12 degrees, and 18 degrees warmer are all theoretically possible. None of those is survivable by homo sapiens, even deep underground.

Ourselves: We are not biologically or culturally prepared for the new rules. If we are not to be remembered as a black smear in the strata, discovered millions of years from now by descendants of those microbes clinging to the innards of the rovers we sent to Mars, we need to change how we think, and act, and quickly. Delay, obfustication, manipulation and war are no longer serious options. That part of our evolution is now history. We are homo gestalt.

The Great Change follows our conscious choice to turn away from barbarism, conflict, xenophobia, and alienation and towards eco-communitarianism, peace and freedom. From that calm and secure center we will build the world to come. And, it will be wonderful.

buy the book

downloads in Acrobat® format

try our newest recipes

links to references
from the book

our newswire
and history archive

author tour dates
and workshops

the full, unfettered,
appropriate technology

latest musings from Albert

our charitable policy


Albert Bates will be appearing in 2013 at the following locations:

Punta Gorda, Belize, Feb 18 to March 1, 2013 Permaculture Design Course

Ecoaldea Pachamama, Armenia Colombia March 3-10 Ecovillage Design Course

Short Mountain TN April 18-21, Wild Fermentation Intensive with Sandor Katz

Summertown TN May 22 FIC Conference

Artemas PA May 23-27 Age of Limits Conference

Puyallup, WA June 1 to 2. Mother Earth News Fair

Summertown TN, June 4-12. Permaculture Design Course

Summertown TN, June 21-22. Carbon Farming Course

Findhorn, Scotland, June 24-30, ICSA Communities Conference

Oslo Norway, Carbon Farming Course, July 5-6

Jarna Sweden July 7-10 Permaculture Design Course.

Jarna Sweden July 11-12 Biochar Stove Course

County Kerry Ireland July 13-22, FEASTA WEEK

Summertown TN July 27 Fermaculture with Sandor Katz

Cloughjordan, Ireland, Aug 9-18 Permaculture Design Course

Summertown, TN August 30th to Sept 3 Biochar Stove Camp

Summertown, TN  Sept 7-8 Southeast Permaculture Convergence

Seven Springs, PA Sept 27-28, Mother Earth News Fair

Nashville TN Oct 7-9 AASCHE Conference

Kansas City KS Oct 11-13, Mother Earth News Fair

Amherst MA Oct 13-16 US Biochar Conference

Grand Rapids, MI November 9-10, Local Futures, Values Actions Leadership

Havana Cuba Nov 24-11 International Permaculture Convergence

See too the Ecovillage Training Center web site for regularly scheduled events.

Marketing and Public Relations Coordinator
Global Village Institute
Phone: 931-964-4474
Fax: 931-964-2200
biochar at thefarm dot org

visit Albert's blog

photo for Vanity Fair by Gasper Tringale

Albert's latest book, The Biochar Solution: Carbon Farming and Climate Change,
from New Society.

Visit our new book site for The Biochar Solution

book cover