Chelsea Green Publishing

Dreaming the Future

Pages:240 pages
Size: 6 x 9 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603584593
Pub. Date August 28, 2012

Dreaming the Future

Reimagining Civilization in the Age of Nature

By Kenny Ausubel
Foreword by David W. Orr

Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
August 28, 2012


Few would deny that we are entering a period of great change. Our environment is collapsing. Social disruption abounds. All around, it seems, we are experiencing breakdown. But out of this chaos comes the opportunity for breakthrough-the opportunity to reimagine our future.

In Dreaming the Future, Kenny Ausubel leads us into that possible new world and introduces us to the thinkers and doers who are-sometimes quietly, sometimes not-leading what he calls "a revolution from the heart of nature and the human heart."

In a collection of short, witty, poignant, even humorous essays, Ausubel tracks the big ideas, emerging trends, and game-changing developments of our time. He guides us through our watershed moment, showing how it's possible to emerge from a world where corporations are citizens, the gap between rich and poor is cavernous, and biodiversity and the climate are under assault and create a world where we take our cues from nature and focus on justice, equity, diversity, democracy, and peace.

Even those steeped in the realities of a world gone wrong and efforts to right it will find refreshing, even surprising, perspectives in Dreaming the Future. It will come as no surprise to readers that Ausubel is cofounder of Bioneers-which foreword author David W. Orr describes as "one part global part catalytic organization."


"Without doubt, Kenny Ausubel has one of the most glorious minds on the planet. Herein he has crafted a dazzling treasury of essays on the destiny of humanity and its place on earth, a rosary of startling truths. His ability to describe the cataclysmic loss of living systems contrasted with the luminous and untold rise of human awakening is unique among living writers and speakers. Read this for its brilliance, but read it also to find joy in the intricate reimagination of what it means to be a human being at this parlous moment in civilization."--Paul Hawken, author of Blessed Unrest; co-author, Natural Capitalism

"Kenny Ausubel is one of the planet's key people, a kind of hub for the new ideas that will, if we're smart, shape our future. He delivers them with the... brio and confidence that will help people overcome their fear and get to work!"--Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth; founder of

"Dreaming the Future proposes a path forward that is both profoundly radical and full of common sense. An excellent read for everyone who wants to build a better future-and for those looking to supplement the many dry technical tomes about today's environmental problems. Ausubel explores the political, cultural, and personal changes needed to chart a sustainable path forward, leaving readers delighted and hopeful.--Annie Leonard, author and host, The Story of Stuff; co-director, The Story of Stuff Project

"A brilliant new look at what it is to be human on a living planet. Kenny Ausubel has devoted his life to creating organizations that dream a new future. In this marvelous book he shares his vision in eloquent words that inspire us to take action. Read, enjoy, dream--and act!--John Perkins, author, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and Hoodwinked

"This valuable book underscores that many of the solutions so desperately needed today have already been discovered by nature. In these challenging times, Kenny Ausubel has become a leader of leaders, blazing the trail so others can follow. He is a powerful voice for nature's undervalued ecological services-[reminding us] that nature has innate resources and solutions for solving the complexity of problems humans have created. Now is our time, and the world needs more voices like Kenny Ausubel's. Dreaming the Future is much more than a dream: this is a blueprint for survival.--Paul Stamets, author, Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

Publisher's Weekly-
The essays in this collection reflect his thoughts and proposals on a wide variety of topics related to this general goal, ranging from the Gaia theory of Earth as a self-regulating system, to the ecological effects of medical technology, the similarity of modern politics and organized crime, and the difficulty of organizing grassroots resistance against corporate exploitation. Many of these pieces have been published previously over the last decade on websites like The Huffington Post and They are, however, still highly relevant, and the book is a convenient, readable, and informative corpus of Ausubel's work. His breezy, fast-paced writing style and his in-depth knowledge of environmental and political issues will inspire readers who share his values and his belief in the importance of shaping human behavior for the sake of environmental sustainability. A list of bibliographic sources for each essay provides guidance for readers who wish to do further research, but there are no footnotes for specific factual statements, which may limit the book's ability to persuade skeptical readers.


  • Winner - Nautilus Book Award, Gold Winner (Ecology/Environment)


Kenny Ausubel

Kenny Ausubel is an award-winning social entrepreneur, author, journalist and filmmaker. He is co-CEO and cofounder of Bioneers, a nonprofit dedicated to disseminating practical and visionary solutions for restoring Earth's imperiled ecosystems and healing our human communities. Ausubel launched the celebrated annual Bioneers Conference in 1990 with his Bioneers cofounder and wife, Nina Simons, and serves as executive producer of the Bioneers plenary series airing on Free Speech TV and Link TV. He acted as a central advisor to Leonardo DiCaprio's feature documentary The 11th Hour, and appears in the film. He also cofounded Seeds of Change--purveyors of organic, biodiverse heirloom seeds.

In addition to Dreaming the Future: Reimagining Civilization in the Age of Nature (2012), Ausubel has written three books--When Healing Becomes a Crime: The Amazing Story of the Hoxsey Cancer Clinics and the Return of Alternative Therapies (2000); The Bioneers: Declarations of Interdependence (1995) and Seeds of Change: The Living Treasure (1994).

He also founded and operates Inner Tan Productions, a feature film development company, has written two screenplays, and has also produced several documentary films about alternative medicine.

Kenny has served as executive producer and principal writer of the award-winning radio series Bioneers: Revolution from the Heart of Nature, heard in more than 200 communities across the U.S. and Canada, and more globally--reaching 70 million listeners worldwide.

He lives in the mountains outside Santa Fe, New Mexico with his wife and their two dogs.


An Unreasonable Woman

An Unreasonable Woman

By Diane Wilson

When Diane Wilson, fourth-generation shrimp-boat captain and mother of five, learns that she lives in the most polluted county in the United States, she decides to fight back. She launches a campaign against a multibillion-dollar corporation that has been covering up spills, silencing workers, flouting the EPA, and dumping lethal ethylene dichloride and vinyl chloride into the bays along her beloved Texas Gulf Coast. In an epic tale of bravery, Wilson takes her fight to the courts, to the gates of the chemical plant, and to the halls of power in Austin. Along the way she meets with scorn, bribery, character assassination, and death threats. Finally Wilson realizes that she must break the law to win justice: She resorts to nonviolent disobedience, direct action, and hunger strikes. Wilson's vivid South Texas dialogue resides somewhere between Alice Walker and William Faulkner, and her dazzling prose brings to mind the magic realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, replete with dreams and prophecies.

Available in: Paperback

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An Unreasonable Woman

Diane Wilson, Kenny Ausubel

Paperback $18.00


Family Values: It's Not a Crime (Bioneers Conference 2006)

Kenny Ausubel's Keynote at Bioneers by the Bay 2008


Grass, Soil, Hope

Grass, Soil, Hope

By Courtney White

This book tackles an increasingly crucial question: What can we do about the seemingly intractable challenges confronting all of humanity today, including climate change, global hunger, water scarcity, environmental stress, and economic instability?

The quick answers are: Build topsoil. Fix creeks. Eat meat from pasture-raised animals.

Scientists maintain that a mere 2 percent increase in the carbon content of the planet’s soils could offset 100 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions going into the atmosphere. But how could this be accomplished? What would it cost? Is it even possible? 

Yes, says author Courtney White, it is not only possible, but essential for the long-term health and sustainability of our environment and our economy.

Right now, the only possibility of large-scale removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere is through plant photosynthesis and related land-based carbon sequestration activities. These include a range of already existing, low-tech, and proven practices: composting, no-till farming, climate-friendly livestock practices, conserving natural habitat, restoring degraded watersheds and rangelands, increasing biodiversity, and producing local food.

In Grass, Soil, Hope, the author shows how all these practical strategies can be bundled together into an economic and ecological whole, with the aim of reducing atmospheric CO2 while producing substantial co-benefits for all living things. Soil is a huge natural sink for carbon dioxide. If we can draw increasing amounts carbon out of the atmosphere and store it safely in the soil then we can significantly address all the multiple challenges that now appear so intractable.

Available in: Paperback

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Grass, Soil, Hope

Michael Pollan, Courtney White

Paperback $19.95

Seeing Nature

Seeing Nature

By Paul Krafel

Seeing Nature is a series of true stories or parables that offer tools for understanding relationships in the natural world. Many of the stories take the reader to wild landscapes, including canyons, tundra, and mountain ridges, while others contemplate the human-made world: water-diversion trenches and supermarket check-out lines. At one point, Krafel discovers a world in a one-inch-square patch of ordinary ground.

Inspiring for parents and teachers seeking to encourage excitement about the positive role of people in nature, Krafel's work harkens to St. Exupery's The Little Prince, Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, and Jean Giono's The Man Who Planted Trees. As Barbara Damrosch has noted:

[This book] is a gift.... With curiosity, wit, and a spare and graceful style, Krafel notes why birds in flocks land as they do, how islands can move upstream in a river, how kelp forests, swaying gently, break the force of the sea's power, how tundra plants create whole ecosystems on bare rock from mere specks of life. Yet there are no long-winded sermons about the woods, or cute anthropomorphizations of animals. The book's economical, unsentimental style is part of its originality.

Paul Krafel's years as a park ranger afforded him time to walk and think—his job was to observe the world around him. He is now a teacher, creating a curriculum for young people that is built on a startlingly simple truth: The world around us is an extended conversation between "upward spirals"—nature in regenerative, procreative modes—and downward spirals toward entropy and disintegration. As nature refreshes and rebuilds, the downward spirals are overcome. Nature's process becomes the process of replenishing hope.

Available in: Paperback

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Seeing Nature

Paul Krafel

Paperback $25.00



By Ugo Bardi

As we dig, drill, and excavate to unearth the planet’s mineral bounty, the resources we exploit from ores, veins, seams, and wells are gradually becoming exhausted. Mineral treasures that took millions, or even billions, of years to form are now being squandered in just centuries–or sometimes just decades.

Will there come a time when we actually run out of minerals? Debates already soar over how we are going to obtain energy without oil, coal, and gas. But what about the other mineral losses we face? Without metals, and semiconductors, how are we going to keep our industrial system running? Without mineral fertilizers and fuels, how are we going to produce the food we need?

Ugo Bardi delivers a sweeping history of the mining industry, starting with its humble beginning when our early ancestors started digging underground to find the stones they needed for their tools. He traces the links between mineral riches and empires, wars, and civilizations, and shows how mining in its various forms came to be one of the largest global industries. He also illustrates how the gigantic mining machine is now starting to show signs of difficulties. The easy mineral resources, the least expensive to extract and process, have been mostly exploited and depleted. There are plenty of minerals left to extract, but at higher costs and with increasing difficulties.

The effects of depletion take different forms and one may be the economic crisis that is gripping the world system. And depletion is not the only problem. Mining has a dark side–pollution–that takes many forms and delivers many consequences, including climate change. 

The world we have been accustomed to, so far, was based on cheap mineral resources and on the ability of the ecosystem to absorb pollution without generating damage to human beings. Both conditions are rapidly disappearing. Having thoroughly plundered planet Earth, we are entering a new world.

Bardi draws upon the world’s leading minerals experts to offer a compelling glimpse into that new world ahead.

Available in: Paperback

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Jorgen Randers, Ugo Bardi

Paperback $24.95

Death & Sex

Death & Sex

By Tyler Volk and Dorion Sagan

On DEATH . . .
What is shared by spawning Pacific salmon, towering trees, and suicidal bacteria? In his lucid and concise exploration of how and why things die, Tyler Volk explains the intriguing ways creatures-including ourselves-use death to actually enhance life. Death is not simply the end of the living, though even in that aspect the Grim Reaper has long been essential to natural selection. Indeed, the exquisite schemes and styles of death that have emerged from evolution have been essential to the great story from life's beginnings in tiny bacteria nearly four thousand million years ago to ancient human rituals surrounding death and continuing to the existential concerns of human culture and consciousness today. Volk weaves together autobiography, biology, Earth history, and results of fascinating studies that show how thoughts of our own mortality affect our everyday lives, to prove how an understanding of what some have called the ultimate taboo can enrich the celebration of life.

. . . and SEX
In Sex, Dorion Sagan takes a delightful, irreverent, and informative romp through the science, philosophy, and literature of humanity's most obsessive subject. Have you ever wondered what the anatomy and promiscuous behaviors of chimpanzees and the sexual bullying of gorillas tell us about ourselves? Why we lost our hair? What amoebas have to do with desire? Linking evolutionary biology to salacious readings of the lives and thoughts of such notables as the Marquis de Sade and Simone de Beauvoir, and discussing works as varied as The Story of O and Silence of the Lambs, Sex touches on a potpourri of interrelated topics ranging from animal genitalia to sperm competition, the difference between nakedness and nudity, jealousy's status as an aphrodisiac and the origins of language, Casanova and music, ovulation and clothes, mother-in-law jokes and alpha females, love and loneliness. A brief, wonderfully entertaining, highly literate foray into the origins and evolution of sex.

Two books in one cover, Death & Sex unravel and answer some of life's most fundamental questions.

Available in: Hardcover

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Death & Sex

Dorion Sagan, Tyler Volk

Hardcover $25.00