“Our current path will no doubt lead to the demise of our civilization and its global market culture.”

—Carl McDaniel and John Gowdy

“Our ignorance is not so vast as our failure to use what we know.”

—M. King Hubbert, peak oil prophet

“The U.S. political culture has become not just dysfunctional but deeply corrupt.”

—Economist Paul Krugman on the possibility that George W. Bush’s tax cuts for the rich may get renewed

“We should not be concerned about wealth; we are rich enough, but we should be very concerned about robustness.”

—Nicholas Nassim Taleb, author of “The Black Swan”

“The human body has built-in redundancies: two eyes, two kidneys, two lungs. It is good to incorporate that model into everything we create.”

—Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of “The Black Swan”

“The paucity of study relative to amount of risk is simply astounding.”

—climate scientist Ken Caldeira on the “methane time bomb” that threatens to cause extreme global warming

“The UK faces the most urgent and challenging energy policy environment of any developed economy”

The UK needs to rethink its international ambitions, says a Chatham House briefing paper, with a strong focus on energy security

“The growing demand for oil is leading to a growing global conflict in which the Gulf War, the 9/11 attack, and the war in Iraq are just the first three skirmishes.”

—Amos Nur, professor emeritus of geophysics, Stanford University

“Civilization is precarious: as we climbed the ladder of progress, we kicked out the rungs below. There is no going back without catastrophe.”

from Ronald Wright’s “A Short History of Progress”

“Almost all the crises that afflict the world economy are ultimately environmental in origin.”

—biologist E. O. Wilson


books I've read on failure & grace

The World Without Us
The Last Oil Shock: A Survival Guide to the Imminent Extinction of Petroleum Man
A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster
Hell and High Water: Global Warming--the Solution and the Politics--and What We Should Do
The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl
The Tipping Point
Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time
The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity and the Renewal of Civilization
Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail
The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850
Confessions of an Eco-Sinner: Tracking Down the Sources of My Stuff
Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future
The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World

Mason's favorite books »