15 December 2011

Making 2012 the year resilience built

It's all too easy to feel that hope is lost. But with your help, we're determined to make 2012 the year that resilience built

by Asher Miller | Dec 13 2011 by Post Carbon Institute in Energy Bulletin | Dec 14, 2011

2011 has been another turbulent year: the Arab Spring, mounting protests around the world (including the #Occupy movement), the Japanese tsunami and Fukushima disaster, the Euro crisis, record rising levels of CO2. And looming behind it all — increasingly acknowledged, but still not often addressed — resource, environmental, economic, and social constraints.

For Post Carbon Institute, the question has not been, “What to do?” but rather, “What to do first?” There are so many challenges, all of them interrelated, and so many areas that need attention. Building on the wise counsel of our Fellows, Board, Advisers, Allies, and Supporters, PCI has developed three primary strategies:

  • Setting the Agenda: Research, analysis, and writing that provides a systems-view reframing of the energy, environment, economy, and equity challenges.
  • Changing the Conversation: Communicating these core ideas and information through public speaking, media interviews, social media, webinars, websites, animations, videos, etc.
  • Building Resilience: Providing concrete, tangible resources for individuals and communities to take action.

2011 Review

In 2011, we put those strategies into action through some impressive (and cost-effective) means. For example:

  • "300 Years of Fossil Fuels in 300 Seconds" — produced with $6,000, a great script from Richard Heinberg, and lot of coffee — won the DoGooder YouTube Nonprofit Video of the Year Award and has been viewed more than 1 million times.
  • Energy Bulletin, fueled mainly by dedicated volunteers (thanks, Bart Anderson & Co.), provided 1.5 million unique visitors with more than 2,400 articles, commentaries, news pieces, and discussions in 2011.
  • Will Natural Gas Fuel America in the 21st Century?” by PCI Fellow David Hughes, challenged conventional wisdom, and continues to reverberate from the New York Times and Nature to the World Resource Institute to Canada’s National Energy Board. The report has been viewed/downloaded more than 14,000 timessince it was published.
  • PCI Senior Fellow Richard Heinberg’s The End of Growth has sold more than 12,000 copies in its first three months of publication, and British, Dutch, French, Spanish, and Korean editions are on the way in 2012.
  • The End of Growth has been listed as one of five books on #OccupyEducated's suggested reading list.
  • “Who Killed Economic Growth?” — the companion video to The End of Growth — is approaching 100,000 views.
  • The Post Carbon Reader won the 2011 Independent Publisher Book Award and is now in its fourth printing. The book has sold nearly 10,000 copies, been downloaded more than 20,000 times, and is being used on college campuses across the US and abroad.
  • In just the last four months, Richard Heinberg gave more than 75 media interviews on the end of growth, reaching more than 2,000 radio stations (and through these, podcasts), ranging from NPR’s Morning Edition to the CBC.
  • PCI coordinated seven webchats and more than 60 speaking appearances, including influential talks to the Environmental Grantmakers Association, and a widely hailed alternative (to ExxonMobil Corp. CEO Rex Tillerson) commencement address at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished, especially given our small size and how much PCI’s message bucks “conventional wisdom.”

Frankly, we could not have done any of this without your moral and financial support. I’m sure you know how difficult it is to talk about resource depletion and the unwinding of growth-based economics (see below for more on a tool to help you with that). PCI aims to “change the conversation” so that we can developed a fact-based, effective response to the greatest challenge humanity has yet faced.

We cannot take on this challenge without the support you provide. Your contribution is absolutely essential. Even a modest amount matters, not just financially, but morally. Your donation lets us know that you “have our back,” and believe deeply in PCI’s mission, and our ability to make an impact…before it’s too late.

2012 Sneak Peak

With your support, here’s a sample of what Post Carbon Institute will accomplish in 2012:

  • Early in 2012, we’ll release “You Are Here: The Oil Journey”, an arrestingly animated, customizable presentation that you (and hundreds of other PCI supporters) can deliver in your community. You can tell the compelling history of how cheap energy and economic growth got us into this mess... and how we can move toward a more resilient, sustainable, and equitable future. A recorded version of the presentation will be narrated by Peter Coyote.
  • The Community Resilience Guides, our forthcoming series with Chelsea Green Publishing, will feature four handbooks on planning for a relocalized future, producing food locally, producing energy locally, and financing these and similar ventures. Local Dollars, Local Sense: How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity, by PCI Fellow Michael Shuman, will be the first book released, in early 2012.
  • Also early in 2012, we’ll debut resilience.org, a new website dedicated to building community resilience. It will be a clearinghouse of information and inspiration, a convening point for individuals and groups, and much more. Stay tuned!
  • Throughout 2012, Richard Heinberg will be speaking, writing, and researching on the logical follow-on question that arises from The End of Growth: How can we have the best possible Life After Growth?

  • Later in 2012, look for Energy: Overdevelopment and the Delusions of Endless Growth, collaboratively written, edited, and published with the Foundation for Deep Ecology. The manuscript will be completed in December 2011; look for publication in late 2012. Of course, this will be accompanied by a campaign to change the conversation from consumption to conservation, and expose the true costs of industrial-scale energy.

And that’s just for starters...

We don’t ask for your support often, even though we depend on your commitment and your generosity. Please donate now, so we can make 2012 the year a truly resilient, sustainable, and equitable future becomes possible.

Get The End of Growth http://www.postcarbon.org/eog | Watch the animation Who Killed Economic Growth?http://bit.ly/whokilledgrowth

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Editorial Notes

When a friend asked about organizations to contribute to, here is what I wrote:

Post Carbon Institute - This is the one to which I've volunteered about five years of my life, so I feel it is worthwhile! They take a deep view of the problems, and try to support a network of individuals and groups who are doing good work -- for example, they were early supporters of Transition in the United States. I know and like the people who work there. They are sincere and competent. Richard Heinberg is their main intellectual influence.

- Bart Anderson

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