“The Great Disruption”


Paul Gilding’s book The Great Disruption was released around the world over 2011 to wide acclaim. It is now being translated into various languages. The Dutch edition has been released (see here) with the German version due for release in late 2012.

A bracing assessment of the planetary crisis that we can no longer avoid-and the once-in-an-epoch chance it offers to build a better world.

“One of those who has been warning me of [a coming crisis] for a long time is Paul Gilding, the Australian environmental business expert. He has a name for this moment-when both Mother Nature and Father Greed have hit the wall at once-‘The Great Disruption.’ ”

– Thomas Friedman in the New York Times

It’s time to stop just worrying about climate change, says Paul Gilding. We need instead to brace for impact because global crisis is no longer avoidable. This Great Disruption started in 2008, with spiking food and oil prices and dramatic ecological changes, such as the melting ice caps. It is not simply about fossil fuels and carbon footprints. We have come to the end of Economic Growth, Version 1.0, a world economy based on consumption and waste, where we lived beyond the means of our planet’s ecosystems and resources.

The Great Disruption offers a stark and unflinching look at the challenge humanity faces-yet also a deeply optimistic message. The coming decades will see loss, suffering, and conflict as our planetary overdraft is paid; however, they will also bring out the best humanity can offer: compassion, innovation, resilience, and adaptability. Gilding tells us how to fight-and win-what he calls The One Degree War to prevent catastrophic warming of the earth, and how to start today.

The crisis represents a rare chance to replace our addiction to growth with an ethic of sustainability, and it’s already happening. It’s also an unmatched business opportunity: Old industries will collapse while new companies will literally reshape our economy. In the aftermath of the Great Disruption, we will measure “growth” in a new way. It will mean not quantity of stuff but quality and happiness of life. Yes, there is life after shopping.

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Praise for The Great Disruption:

“This is the most important “environmental” book to have been published for many years. It’s one of those rare books, which come along every so often, that can really change the paradigm of the political debate.”— Chris Rose, previous Deputy Executive Director of Greenpeace UK, author of campaignstrategy.org

“We’re in the rapids now, heading for the falls, too late to swim for shore. But Paul Gilding offers some excellent insights into how we might weather that which we can no longer completely prevent–and how we can still prevent that which we won’t be able to weather. If you’re planning to stick around for the 21st century, this might be a useful book to consult.”—Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth, founder of 350.org.

“Gilding offers a clear-eyed and moving assessment of our predicament but more importantly, he offers a plausible way forward and good reasons to think we will rise to the occasion. His message is that our situation is dire, but we will act because we must. Essential reading.”—David W. Orr, Paul Sears Distinguished Professor, Oberlin College, author of Hope is an Imperative and Down to the Wire.

Reviews for The Great Disruption:

“A leading advocate for action on climate change asserts that the world is already in the midst of a global emergency that will mark not the collapse of civilization, but a positive transformation of society…a remarkably optimistic view of the brave new world in our future—certain to be widely and strongly challenged.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Gilding’s confidence in our ability to transform disaster into a “happiness economy” may astonish readers, but the book provides a refreshing, provocative alternative to the recent spate of gloom-and-doom climate-change studies.” —Publishers Weekly

“[Gilding] backs up his arguments with plenty of facts and avenues for readers to pursue.” –Library Journal

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186 thoughts on ““The Great Disruption”

  1. John Poussart

    I am really interested in reading this book.
    However english is not my native language and i find it hard to understand al the technical words and so on.
    I am wondering when and if the book is going to be translated into Dutch

    Is it going to be translated? Or wil this never happen?

    Greets john

  2. I read your book and saw your TED presentation. I admire you. You are very corageous.
    You are completely right and your advice is sound. Yet the reality is that Humanity will not change if we don’t address the dominating power of destructive religious and political ideologies. Religions are dividing us and politicians are re-enforcing an unsustainable economic system.
    Vision for a New World introduces a New Paradigm. I invite you to check it out.

  3. Ray Guzman

    Just finished The Great Disruption. I have to say this is the first time reading a book of this nature I have HPOE for the future of the human race. My interest in climate change started with Peak Oil. Don’t remember how I came across you on you-tube, but after hearing you talk I ordered you book that day.
    Thank You Paul,
    R Guzman
    California, USA

  4. Mike Byrne

    Having finished reading The great Disruption a month or two ago, I wondered whether Paul Gilding has any encouraging thoughts to tell us about since he wrote it ? Are there any signs that he is being taken seriously ? Down here in Australia I see no evidfence of it…Regards Mike Byrne

  5. Harold Segelstad

    I was on my way back from Bhutan and had run out of reading material when I noticed G D in the Bangkok airport. I have been a lifelong passionate environmentalist and worker for 45 years[Executive Director of ZPG,originator and Director of Renewable Energy RD&D at PG&E in 1976,etc] You have written one of the most important books I have ever read.It is very lucid,accurate,and credible and needs much wider distribution . I would enjoy meeting you sometime when you are in the San Francisco area. Thank you for your terrific work! ! ! Harold Segelstad

  6. Luis M. Aguilar

    I’ve read this down-to-earth book that shows the inevitable destiny of human kind if there is not a radical shift in our way of living and interacting with the environment. I can affirm, that ever since 1995, I decided not to travel out of the place where I’m from. I decided to use recycled paper for all my academic activities (I’m a science teacher): I have not a visa for traveling to other countries, and I have not need to do it. I believe that we are finite in time and life, and that whenever my time arrives to leave this world, I will do it without hesitation. There´s the need for radical change in our attitudes toward life and to enjoyment, there are myriad things unnecesary for our happiness, and most of the things are free. Consumism is eating us to the point of insanity and driving us to states of mind non recommended for a healthy life. I drive less than 100 miles a month, since I live near my working place. As long as we keep justifying the way society functions, the term susteinability, will become an empty word lacking of real meaning. So, we must fill our words with actions, in order for us not to become people whitout meanings.
    Luis Aguilar
    Saltillo, Coahuila

  7. Janice Waygood

    Nov 18/12
    Dear Paul,
    I just finished your book The Great Disruption I read your every word, I am really impressed with your passion, I was really moved by Chapter 20 Who’s in Charge? where you wondered what your thoughts would have been if you were a resident of Amsterdam in 1938 where millions of people went about their daily lives, unprepared for what was about to happen despite all the signals around them.Next you said:So,back to today. It’s hard, isn’t it, to hear stories of impending dangers and to know how to respond. It’s hard to separate fear from reality,probably from possibly, and the truth among conflicting arguments.Paul did you know that there is a group of people who share`your same passion about making this world a better place they have a little different approach,based on Rev 11:18 which talks about God bring to ruin those ruining the earth. They to, try to educate people by reaching there hearts and mind showing people what God’s original purpose was for mankind.So far they are in 236 lands they are a United Brother Hood of all nationalities who by observing and adhering to such Bible-based direction, sincere believers or integrity keepers dwell and work together in peace and unity.There goal is to find other sincere believers and integrity keepers of God’s word. They believe as the end of the present sytem of things draws ever nearer,they move ahead loyally and obediently under the leadership of our appointed Commander and Messianic King, Christ Jesus.(Isa. 55:4;Rev 6:2;11:15)It was none other than Jesus who fore-told that his followers would do works greater than those he accomplished during his earthly ministry of Kingdom preaching and disciple making (John14:12) That would be so because over a longer period of time and in increasing numbers, Jesus followers would cover a widening territory. They would proclaim the Kingdom good news to the extremities of the earth and make disciples of people of all the nations.This has already proved to be a reality so far there are over 7.5 million deadicated christians taking this work serious who actually go out from door to door imitating what Jesus and his disciples did.There are`thousands more who believe the same who have not made this same deadication but who support them. However,as Jesus clearly stated, the activity of declaring the good news of divine judgment will end at Jehovah’s great and fear-inspiring day as having drawn close.-Zeph.1:14-18;2:2,3;1Peter4:7
    Perceiving what the will of Jehovah is at this late hour, this United BrotherHood in over 236 lands is imbued with a sense of urgency to try and show people right from there own BIBLES what God’s original purpose was and still is for mankind.The purpose of there Bible aides Example; The Watchtower, is to honor Jehovah God,the Supreme Ruler of the universe.Just as watchtowers in ancient times enabled a person to observe developments from afar, so this magazine shows us the significance of world events in the light of Bible prophecies.It comforts people with the good news that God’s Kingdom, which is a real government in heaven, will soon bring an end to all wickeness and transform the earth into a paradise. It promotes faith in Jesus Christ, who died so that we might gain everlasting life and who is now ruling as King of God’s Kingdom.The Watchtower and Awake magazine has been published by Jehovah’s Witnesses continuously since 1879 and is
    nonpolitical.It adheres to the Bible as its authority. I would like to add that God’s`original purpose for mankind spoken about in Genesis,if Adam and Eve did not eat the fruit we would not be in the mess we are all in now. All because Satan influenced Eve’s thinking now all of us are all paying the price for their error. What part of no did they not undertand? If it was not for Jesus taking the place of Adam by a ransom sacrifice which upholds`God’s righteous standards stated in the Mosacic law Life for a Life we would not have the hope of living forever in a paradise earth as God intened for mankind he made planet earth for our HOME.
    I for the last 4 years decided to listen to the bible cover to cover audio as I was driving my car and in different versions to compare if there was any difference, words may vary, but God’s purpose through out is the same.That has not changed.I work in a extended care unit I do a personal survey asking the elderly if they have read the entire bible the answer is 98% no, they have bibles though, others do not believe in God.I think we should all know how God feels and what he has to say to us he has alot of passion also.So after I listened to what God;s word said I started reading the bible aids of Jehovah;s Witnesses I wanted to hear it right from there mouths and not someones elses interpetition of what they are saying.I also read their bible aids from cover to cover so I do not miss a thing I also look up the scriptures that are quoted.I have to tell you I am really glad I have done this and not listened to what people say about them.Plus if you want know about them it is important to go to their Website jw.org and not any where else it is amazing how things are changed or twisted. I am convienced you need to hear a person out that is why books are good you cannot break their train of thought unless you stop reading or start only looking here or there through out the book which in my opinion spoils what is being said.
    Well Paul your last chapter moved me to share with you as your intent of your book was to wake everyone up with what is happening around them just as the original bible students that they were know as before they thought the name Jehovah’s Witnesses was more appropiate Isaiah43:10 You are my witnesses is the utterance of Jehovah.
    Jehovah’s Witnesses because of Paul 1Cor1:10 Now I plead with you ,brethren,by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,that you all speak the same thing,and that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.This unity is what is the result of builing complete kingdom halls from start to finish in an ordally way.This is why to different gang members once trying to kill each other can sit side by side in the same kingdom hall at peace with one another, it is this unity Paul is speaking of,it is this same unity that people lable them as a CULT. It is this unity that people say they are brane washing people.They go way back in history to search out the root of the problem and find out what caused the problem in the first place and correct it unlike using the bandade effect which does not correct the problem.They are in effect debrain washing people.Have you read the book by Leonard Mlodinow Subliminal Copyright 2012 How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior.After reading his book which is based all on studies`done on people that they were unaware of has forever changed how I look at myself and other people.His study confirms to me since God created us he knows how we think and we need quidance.Isaiah 48;17.18 speaks about God teaching us to benifit ourselves,Jeremiah 10:23 that says it does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.If you take time to read Subliminal you will understand what I am saying. After fully understanding what jehovah’s Witnesses message and intent is I fully support them in their work as I do with the work you are doing. I have been telling people about you including friends and family.
    I know you do your research, have you researched on this United BrotherHood World Wide in over 236 lands? You will be amazed what they are accomplishing! Take the time to find out I am sure you will find yourself Quite at home.
    Paul I work full time with only 2 days off .I am not a writer by any means as you can tell .I also avoid the computer like a plaque as it eats up my time which I do not have to spare.We also have 10 acres that is a lot of work.What I am trying to say is being the dinasor I am this little response has taken 5 hrs of my day putting me behind. I hope you will appreciate my heart felt response, these are the moments when I wished I would have stayed in school so I could end up writing at ease, like you probably do and only taking 15 mins to say what it has taken me half the day to do.
    please excuse any errors
    in my reply I am sure
    there are many! I do not what to
    spend anymore time on this.

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