The following is the final part of an essay which was originally an address to the International Conference on Sustainability, Transition and Culture Change, November 16, 2012, by Richard Heinberg
Read Part 1,
If groups seeking to make the post-carbon transition go more smoothly and equitably are to have much hope of success, they need a sound strategy grounded in a realistic theory of change. Here, briefly, is a theory of change that makes sense to me.
For the past four decades, since the release of Limits to Growth, there have been many scattered efforts to develop alternatives to our current fossil-fueled, growth-based industrial paradigm. These include renewable energy systems; local, organic, and Permaculture food systems; urban design movements seeking to reduce the dominance of the automobile in our built environment; architectural programs with the goal of designing buildings that require no external energy input and that are constructed using renewable and recycled materials; alternative currencies not attached to interest-bearing debt, as well as alternative banking models; and alternative economic indicators that take account of social and environmental factors. While such efforts have achieved some small degree of implementation, varying significantly from place to place around the globe, they have generally failed to substantially reduce reliance on fossil fuels, to blunt the overall momentum of society toward increased consumption of a wide range of renewable and non-renewable materials, to reduce financial instability, or to curtail profound environmental impacts including climate change, loss of biodiversity and topsoil, and more.