The Great Disruption

Posted by | March 9, 2012

Last fall we had a great opportunity to host Paul Gilding in our office when he visited Portland to speak about his recent book.  Many of us had read The Great Disruption over the summer and discussed his bold proclamation that “the climate crisis will bring on the end of shopping and the birth of a new world.”   Gilding states that it is only a matter of time before global ecological overshoot results in massive shifts in the ways we lead our lives.  He minces no words as he describes these sobering prospects while, at the same time, offering a perspective that highlights the potential for a sort of global call to action.

Gilding believes “…that man has the ability to commit to huge change when there is no alternative.”  No individual can predict what will trigger the “Great Disruption,” when it will take place, or what it will look like.  Gilding makes the case that the global response could be strikingly similar to that inspired by Winston Churchill and others in the face of World War II—collaboration, sacrifice, and an astounding commitment to wartime necessities.

As investors, we expect the Great Disruption to trigger declines in consumer spending and discretionary goods, waves of innovation, and a unified drive aimed at the conservation of resources.  It was an honor to discuss these themes with Paul in person and to hear his perspective on how some of these trends may develop.

Have you read The Great Disruption?  Did you find its message frightening, exhilarating, or something in between?


Beth is a Senior Research Analyst with Portfolio 21 Investments.  She has 8 years of environmental and social investing research experience. 

Post categories: ecological limits

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