Here is a summary of the book with links to chapters.
Section I: In The Beginning
- Introduction: In which I tell you the whys and wherefores of this book.
- TL;DR: A quick overview of the argument. (You are here!)
Section II: We Are Consuming The World
- The Speed of Light: We are never inhabiting another planet, thanks to the laws of physics. We need to cherish and nurture it.
- Are We the Reason?: We have been doing the exact opposite of nurturing our planet. The climate crisis is directly linked to humanity's actions.
- It's Getting Worse: The crisis is underway, and the destruction is accelerating. Devastation is imminent.
Section III: How Did This Happen?
- How We Did It: Unprecedented population growth and the availability of cheap fossil fuels leading to voracious levels of consumption, are how we got into this metaphorical ditch.
- The Role of Technology: Technology has enabled this consumption — on both the supply and demand sides. But it also holds the seeds for recovery.
- Jevons' Paradox: Jevons' Paradox, which says we consume more rather than less when an efficiency improvement (such as renewable energy) occurs, means that our recovery will not come from "silver bullet solutions."
Section IV: What Can We Do?
- Changing Behavior Works: Behavior got us here and behavior change at scale is going to get us out of this predicament. Yes, it will be hard, but there are plenty of examples of behavior change at scale that have been huge successes.
- Hope in Faraway Lands: These prescriptions aren't the same for everyone — billions still need to be lifted out of poverty and their consumption levels will admittedly have to go up before they flatten.
- The Rich Must Change: Which leads us to the affluent, whom we need to talk about. This is not about their affluence—it is about their behavior. The behaviors of the rich have the potential to solve the vast majority of the problem—via both their own carbon footprint and subsequently through the example they set for everyone.
Section V: It Is In Our Hands
- No Hair Shirts Required: We don't need to go back to the Stone Ages to make this work. Again, common sense needs to come to the fore—for example, through embracing virtual meetings.
- The 4 Rs of Behavior Change: We've created a nifty framework for thinking about behavior change, in our lives and in what Amasia does.
- In Our Hands: Much of what goes on in the world is simply a "norm." We can reshape norms—the power to do so is in our hands.
These topics don't fit into the main thread of the book but are closely related to its arguments.
- Religions and Climate: Western and Eastern religious traditions all support the idea that we need to be careful stewards of our planet.
- A Shrinking World: There is good reason to believe that the world population is on the verge of shrinking—and far faster than anyone thinks. There is much hand-wringing about this shrinkage. I believe we should embrace it.