I am Stan Berteloot and this is Back in America. Today I am speaking with Richard Heinberg a Senior Fellow at the Post Carbon Institute, and one of the world’s foremost advocates for a shift away from our current reliance on fossil fuels.
Richard has written for many publications including Nature, Reuters, Wall Street Journal, The American Prospect, Public Policy Research, Quarterly Review just to name a few. He’s been quoted by Reuters, the Associated Press, and Time Magazine, and has appeared on Good Morning America, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Al-Jazeera, and C-SPAN, NPR and others. Leonardo DiCaprio’s called on Richard’s expertise for his documentary the 11th Hour.
Richard, I wanted to speak with you about a topic that’s increasingly present in Europe and which is making its way into North America that’s the concept of our society’s collapse or l’effondrement has it is now called in French.
The idea is that the process by which basic needs (water, food, shelter, clothing, energy, etc.) are no longer provided (at a reasonable cost) to a majority of the population by services regulated by law.
As Pablo Servigne puts it, collapse is both distant and close, slow and fast, gradual and brutal. It involves not only natural events but also (and above all) political, economic and social shocks, as well as events of a psychological nature.
Collapse means that our fossil fuel-based civilization, cannot sustain itself and will fail.
People that study how societies collapse believe that tomorrow is going to be very different from today. That no green energy and no technology are going to save our way of life. Not even the concept of degrowth will work since we can’t force humanity into stopping production and consumption, especially in developing countries. So yes, they say, we are running into a wall.
But what’s interesting is that that same person, those that a convinced that we will sooner or later collapse are also full of hope. They say that we have to do everything we can today to smoothen this collision. We have to decelerate, we have to put on our seatbelt and prepare everyone for the shock.
They are convinced that preparing for the world to come will give us hope as we work to create for a better society, more collective and resilient.
Richard's List of Books
Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market by David Fleming
Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It Hardcover David Fleming
And here is a link to Richard's many books