“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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193 thoughts on ““The Great Disruption”

  1. Climate Change is challenging the world and the way we demand energy to garantee world’s industry functioning. For sure democracies can give better solutions than the dictatorial regimes around the world, specially the chinese.

  2. Peter

    Hi Paul,

    Interesting times indeed as you wrote in the article ‘Carbon crash – solar dawn’. I hope that your prediction is correct and even conservative in that the fossil fuel industry will be finished by 2030.

    I suspect that many in the fossil fuel industries and their supporters are blind sighted by merely looking at the past and extrapolating into the future – the current Australian coalition government for instance is a case in point (how wrong will they look when we look back in future years?). Secondly the compound growth trend in the uptake of solar and hopefully soon in battery storage is hard to envision for many.



  3. Kylie Paterson

    What an emotional ride I have been on, reading this book! It has given me a clearer view of what I can do to survive in the future and to make a difference.

    As a trainer (in lean logistics, business & warehouseing) I am in the box seat to help others through. Thank you Paul.

  4. Vaughan

    Hi Paul
    I don’t disagree with your thoughts. Humanity has to change its habits. My thoughts are much more positive than yours. I’m a Kiwi living in Australia. Both countries are blessed with small populations, large areas and enormous resources both mineral and agricultural. The two countries need to remove themselves from the global economy and work together. We have everything we need. Breaking away from Global will also rapidly increase employment and we will only produce commodities in the quantities we need to meet our own local demand. With 30 million people those productions will be quite large too. I also see the development (probably already has been done) of a low cost self propelled power plant to be used in vehicles and homes. And no more will we rely on “open field” horticulture which is reliant on climate, it will all be grown inside vast greenhouses with their own climate control using human waste as compost and water from desalination plants. The food supply will be guaranteed and grown all year. Doubling or quad-tripling production from the glasshouses. Food production will be grown vertically on shelves not horizontal. Small businesses will conglomerate into larger more efficient businesses and produce many tens of thousands of products currently manufactured offshore. Ownership of these businesses will be entirely local and no foreign investment will be allowed. The products will be more expensive but of a much higher quality thereby reducing consumerism. Shut out the globe, employ your own people, secure your food and water supplies and use only your own natural resources. Australia and New Zealand have everything in their favour. We need to start now on the new future. Food, water and employment security would be a good place to start and quite achievable right now. That’s how I see it.


  5. Paul : You will enjoy our 20014Green Transition Scoreboard(r) totaling all private investments since 2007 in green sectors worldwide, now at $5.3 trillion http://www.ethicalmarkets.com and my new e-book ,”Mapping the Global Transition to the Solar Age” co-published in London (20014) a 56 page downloadable free summary of my next book. Best, Hazel Henderson

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