Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
A RENEWABLE WORLD
Energy, Ecology, Equality
Herbert Girardet & Miguel Mendonça
£14.95 - $27.95
Published 2009 by Green Books
260 pages paperback
In the USA this book is distributed by Chelsea Green
A Renewable World shows how the quadruple crises facing humanity – of climate, energy, finance and poverty – can instead be regarded as a unique opportunity for building a new, global green economy. It is a book for those who want to influence the decisions on how we can turn visions into practicality, and the steps that are needed to achieve this outcome.
Specifically, it deals with accelerating the renewable energy revolution, creating green jobs and renewing local economies, renewing human settlements in an urbanizing world, biosphere protection and renewal, renewing the world’s agricultural soils, and renewing and invigorating international cooperation.
The current multi-faceted global crisis is about the ‘insecuritisation’ of much of humanity because of short-term, unregulated speculation. Now, particularly in the face of the global financial crisis, as well as the crisis of climate change, the need for long-term thinking is becoming too compelling to ignore. It is becoming clear that we need to learn to live off the earth’s renewable energy resources whilst simultaneously restoring its living natural capital.
A Renewable World is all about the key steps needed to make a global green recovery happen.
Recent climate research indicates that, after decades of inaction, the challenge now facing us is not just to reduce annual global emissions of greenhouse gases, but to reduce their actual concentrations in the atmosphere. The book outlines this can be achieved whilst simultaneously enhancing the livelihoods of billions of people. It shows how best policies and best practices can, if amplified by international cooperation, bring about a green recovery.
This full color illustrated book draws on the expertise on global issues being developed by the World Future Council and other leading thinkers and practitioners. It deals with the urgent issues listed here in a holistic and comprehensive way. We can all help to influence and accelerate the measures that are needed. A Renewable World seeks to show how.
Prof. Herbert Girardet is an author, consultant and filmmaker. He is co-founder and Program Director of the World Future Council, an honorary fellow of the Royal Institute for British Architects (RIBA), a patron of the Soil Association, and a recipient of a UN Global 500 Award ‘for outstanding environmental achievements’.
Miguel Mendonça is Research Manager for the World Future Council. He works in both research and advocacy, focusing on renewable energy policy, and is a member of the steering committee of the Alliance for Renewable Energy.
Those of us who have been involved in the green movement for years, as I have, know of Herbert Girardet and know his books. The Gaia Atlas on sustainable cities is one that has remained firmly in mind.
The authors highlight the need for new forests and for the proper management of existing forests for bio-sequestration of carbon and is that not the most natural and sensible way to go.
Nature, in the form of greenery, but especially tress, has always been able to absorb the CO2 created. The problem, however, is that ever since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution have we not just burned fossil fuels, then initially in the form of coal and later oil, at a rate of knots; we also have destroyed forests and woodlands wholesale, at home and abroad.
Those two things combined have lead us to the catastrophic events of today and while there are some who are making good money out of the other ideas of carbon sequestration that talk against new forest plantation saying that young trees are unable to absorb enough carbon we must try this natural way.
The way I, and the authors, see it is that all the carbon sequestration and storage technology is unproven while forests and soils are a proven and natural way of capturing carbon.
Let's get this mess sorted out without further delay and dallying. If not then we are but Lemmings, knowing we are headed for the cliffs but still go on refusing to believe it.
This book should be read by all, experts and lay people alike.