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Introduction to Power by Richard Heinberg

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Richard Heinberg’s latest title, Power is an exploration of humanity’s power over nature and the power of some people over others. Power traces how four key elements developed to give humans extraordinary power: tool making ability, language, social complexity, and the ability to harness energy sources — most significantly, fossil fuels. Today, we take an excerpt from Power that explains how Richard started on the journey of writing this book.

Excerpted from the introduction to Power

Many people are searching for a magic formula to save the world from the converging crises of the 21st century. Climate change, economic inequality, air and water pollution, resource depletion, and the catastrophic disappearance of wildlife threaten to upend society while destabilizing our planet to such a degree that it may be impossible for future generations of humans to persist. What if we could solve all these problems with one simple trick?

Don’t hold your breath. A single solution doesn’t exist: it’s not socialism or capitalism, it’s not renewable energy or nuclear power, it’s not religion or atheism, and it’s not hemp. However, I believe there is a single causative agent in back of most of our troubles, the understanding of which could indeed help us emerge from the hole we’re rapidly digging for ourselves.

That causative agent is power—our pursuit of it, our overuse of it, and our abuse of it. In this book, I argue that all the problems mentioned above, and others as well, are problems of power. We humans are nature’s supreme power addicts. Power—the ability to do something, the ability to get someone else to do something, or the ability to prevent someone else from doing something—is everywhere in the human world…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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