Civilization Critical by Darrin Qualman

Civilization Critical: Energy, Food, Nature, and the Future - Darrin Qualman

TITLE:  Civilzation Critical:  Energy, Food, Nature, and the Future


AUTHOR:  Darrin Qualman




FORMAT:  Netgalley ARC


ISBN-13:  9781773630861


NOTE: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. This review is my honest opinion of the book.



"With human civilization hurtling closer and closer to the brink of collapse, big-picture solutions are needed. Fast.

In Civilization Critical, Darrin Qualman argues that in order to understand our present situation and our possible futures, we must focus on material and energy flows. The dominant patterns of nature are loops — circular flows of nutrients, seeds, water, carbon and other materials — while human systems are linear: moving from extraction to the factory, the store, the consumer and the landfill. Our petro-industrial systems are misshapen and cannot be sustained by the biosphere. Sustainability requires reconfiguring the linear flows of human systems to match the circular, recycling flows of natural (and pre-industrial) systems. Once we undertake this transformation, many of our problems will begin to abate; until we do so, most will intensify.

In this sweeping work, Qualman pushes the boundaries of existing environmental analysis by looking across the millennia to identify the core processes that give rise to environmental and economic problems and reveals how our sometimes-wondrous, sometimes-monstrous civilization really works and how it is threatened."




This is a book that examines the interaction between the Earth's natural cycles and the evolution of human civilization and progress - a cmbination of technology, culture and biology.  It examines how out petro-chemical "mega-civilization" has decoupled from nature's cyclical processes, the sustainability of this type of civilization and the recommended paths to take in future.  In my opinion this is an important book that sheds light on our history, our future, and how we came to live in our current civilization.  However, I did find some sections to be repetitive and some too generalized.  The author also fails to discuss the elephant in the room:  overpopulation.  Otherwise an interesting and informative book.