UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Rethinking the growth mantra : an exploration of the post-normal world of declining conventional fossil energy Berg, Terrance Leonard


This dissertation represents a meta-survey of evidence projecting a future of conventional fossil energy decline, and the rapid disappearance of highest quality conventional energy sources. Evidence also suggest that increasing costs of fossil fuel production and declining energetic quality of replacements, point to a growing uneconomic cost of fossil fuel consumption. This indicates the need to challenge the benefits of continued fossil fuel consumption due to the growing devastation on humanity associated with accelerating global climate disruption. Resistance to transitioning away from fossil fuel consumption is documented, with major corporations continuing to promote continued fossil energy consumption using multiple think tanks and political agencies. This dissertation supports the findings of the original 1973 Limits to Growth models projecting an end to the modern “Business as Usual” (BAU) industrial age civilization from two aspects: growing resource depletion, and the expected decline of industrial and services per capita. Evidence indicates that dedicated efforts to continue BAU fossil fuel consumption could end in the collapse of energetic structures essential to industrial civilization, leaving humanity in an energy impoverished position struggling to adapt to increasing global climate disruption. This evidence suggests that the education and knowledge developed in a civilization, where nearly everything created in past generations of increasing fossil fuel consumption risks redundancy in a new ontological world of learning to live with declining per capita energy. This transdisciplinary dissertation surveying these emerging trends in petroleum geology, energy related economics and climate science, collectively dictate that a post-carbon future and the changes that accompany it is one that educators must not ignore.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International