Environment

7 Myths About Green Jobs
PDF

Adapt or Die: The science, politics and economics of climate change

Civil Society Report on Climate Change
PDF

Chile: A Dynamic Water Market
PDF

The Cochabamba “Water War”: An Anti-Privatisation Poster Child?
PDF

Environment and Health: Myths and Realities

The Stern Review Oxonia Papers: A Critique
PDF

Sustainable Development: Promoting progress or perpetuating poverty?

The Water Revolution: Practical Solutions to Water Scarcity

Which Policy to Address Climate Change?PDF

Energy and Environment Volume 16: No.3&4
Reviews of Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed by Jared Diamond

In his latest book, Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed, Jared Diamond attempts to provide a scientific account of the causes of societal collapse: “This book employs the comparative method to understand societal collapse to which environmental problems contribute … I compare many past and present societies that differed with respect to environmental fragility, relations with neighbours, political institutions, and other “input” variables postulated to influence a society’s stability. The “output” variables that I examine are collapse or survival, and form of the collapse if a collapse does occur. By relating output variables to input variables, I aim to tease out the influence of possible input variables on collapses.” (18)

In so doing, he seeks to identify lessons for improving the chances that humanity will avoid or better cope with future calamities. Given this objective, five questions seem pertinent:

First, how accurate is Diamond’s portrayal of the demise of the societies he describes (both those that collapsed and those that did not)?

Second, how plausible are the reasons Diamond gives for societal collapse and sustainability?

Third, how systematic is Diamond in his application of the rules that he derives?

Fourth, to the extent that Diamond identifies lessons for current societies, to what extent does he apply those lessons appropriately?

Fifth, what alternative theories might better explain past collapses and offer lessons for societal sustainability? In this special edition of Energy and Environment, several experts evaluate specific aspects of Collapse in order to provide some tentative answers to these questions.

Confuse: How Jared Diamond Fails to Convince – PDF

Diamond in the Rough – PDF

Human Progress – and Collapse? – PDF

Australia’s Undergoing Environmental Renewal, Not Collapse – PDF

Montana – A Modern Paradigm for Collapse? – PDF

From Genocide to Ecocide: The Rape of Rapa Nui – PDF

Vision Through a Narrow Lens – PDF

Jared Diamond and the Terrible Toos – PDF