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




By Mark Schimmoeller

Why a unicycle? Why a cross-country trip? Why leave a prominent New York magazine and return to the simple life in Kentucky?

Reminiscent of classic literary travelogues, Mark Schimmoeller’s Slowspoke: A Unicyclist’s Guide to America takes readers on an inward, emotional journey as he inches across landscapes and communities from North Carolina to Arizona.

Schimmoeller became inspired by his unicycle as an adolescent. It taught him that rushing—whether down the driveway or toward adulthood—would cause a fall, and so, instead of accepting the speeding, straight line that de-fines modern American life, he adopted his single wheel’s wayward rhythms.

Written with poise and humor, Slowspoke is more than a cross-country trip on a unicycle; it’s a meditation on a playful, recalcitrant slowness that is increasingly rare in a culture obsessed with acceleration. At times ach-ing and other times joyful, Schimmoeller intersperses recollections of his journey with vignettes of his present-day, off-the-grid homesteading with his wife in Kentucky and their efforts to save an old-growth forest.

Schimmoeller’s personal journey will resonate with anyone who has slowed down to experience life at a unicycle’s speed or who longs to do so, who has fallen in love or searched for it, or who has treasured tall trees or mourned their loss.

Slowspoke: A Unicyclist's Guide to America is also available as an audio book! Browse and download the book here >>

Available in: Paperback

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Mark Schimmoeller

Paperback $17.95

How to Read the Landscape

How to Read the Landscape

By Patrick Whitefield

According to an ICM poll, 77 percent of UK adults, or about 38 million people, say they walk for pleasure at least once a month. It is remarkable, therefore, that no one has written about the landscapes they’re walking through and enjoying . . . until now.

Patrick Whitefield has spent a lifetime living and working in the countryside and twenty years of that taking notes of what he sees, everywhere from the Isle of Wight to the Scottish Highlands. This book is the fruit of those years of experience.

In How to Read the Landscape, Patrick explains everything from the details, such as the signs that wild animals leave as their signatures and the meaning behind the shapes of different trees, to how whole landscapes, including woodland, grassland, and moorland, fit together and function as a whole. Rivers and lakes, roads and paths, hedgerows and field walls are also explained, as well as the influence of different rocks, the soil, and the ever-changing climate. There’s even a chapter on the fascinating history of the landscape and one about natural succession, how the landscape changes of its own accord when we leave it alone. The landscape will never look the same again. You will not only appreciate its beauty, it will also come alive with a whole new depth of appreciation and understanding.

The lively text is supported by 50 color photographs, 140 line drawings by the author, and extracts from his notebooks illustrating actual examples of the landscapes he describes. Opening How to Read the Landscape is like opening a window on a whole new way of seeing the living world around you.

Available in: Paperback

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How to Read the Landscape

Patrick Whitefield

Paperback $23.95

A Sanctuary of Trees

A Sanctuary of Trees

By Gene Logsdon

As author Gene Logsdon puts it, "We are all tree huggers." But not just for sentimental or even environmental reasons. Humans have always depended on trees for our food, shelter, livelihood, and safety. In many ways, despite the Grimm's fairy-tale version of the dark, menacing forest, most people still hold a deep cultural love of woodland settings, and feel right at home in the woods.

In this latest book, A Sanctuary of Trees, Logsdon offers a loving tribute to the woods, tracing the roots of his own home groves in Ohio back to the Native Americans and revealing his own history and experiences living in many locations, each of which was different, yet inextricably linked with trees and the natural world. Whether as an adolescent studying at a seminary or as a journalist living just outside Philadelphia's city limits, Gene has always lived and worked close to the woods, and his curiosity and keen sense of observation have taught him valuable lessons about a wide variety of trees: their distinct characteristics and the multiple benefits and uses they have.

In addition to imparting many fascinating practical details of woods wisdom, A Sanctuary of Trees is infused with a philosophy and descriptive lyricism that is born from the author's passionate and lifelong relationship with nature: There is a point at which the tree shudders before it begins its descent. Then slowly it tips, picks up speed, often with a kind of wailing death cry from rending wood fibers, and hits the ground with a whump that literally shakes the earth underfoot. The air, in the aftermath, seems to shimmy and shiver, as if saturated with static electricity. Then follows an eerie silence, the absolute end to a very long life.

Fitting squarely into the long and proud tradition of American nature writing, A Sanctuary of Trees also reflects Gene Logsdon's unique personality and perspective, which have marked him over the course of his two dozen previous books as the authentic voice of rural life and traditions.

Available in: Paperback

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A Sanctuary of Trees

Gene Logsdon

Paperback $19.95

Designing Ecological Habitats

Designing Ecological Habitats

Designing Ecological Habitats is the third volume in the Four Keys to Sustainable Communities series and is an important and eloquent exploration of humanity’s limits to growth, addressing the problems arising from climate change, habitat destruction, population growth, and resource depletion.

This is not a book of theoretical ideas but an anthology of solutions, of experience, tried and tested, from experts all over the world. The designs and practices included in this book present a vision for the future, already tested out in ecovillages, sustainable communities, and projects in many countries. These are practical low-carbon solutions that provide significant improvements in the quality of life.

Designing Ecological Habitats is an anthology of work by writers who have created, built, lived in, and thrived in eco-developments, and addresses green building, food resources, appropriate technology, and restoring nature.

“By understanding the process of creating integrated ecological designs, we also make explicit the process of creating integrated social and economic systems. We reconnect with the true meaning of ecology that comes from the Greek word oikos, meaning ‘home’ or ‘a place to live.’ Humanity’s greatest challenge is to ensure that planet Earth can support human life far into future centuries not only by adapting to climate change but also by mitigating it.”—from the Foreword by Mark Richmond, director, Division of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development, UNESCO Education Sector.

The Four Keys represent the four dimensions of sustainable design—the Worldview, the Social, the Ecological, and the Economic. This series is endorsed by UNESCO and is an official contribution to the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. The other books of the series are Beyond You and Me, Gaian Economics, and The Song of the Earth. The Four Keys to Sustainable Communities series was completed in 2012 and is now available in the U.S. for the first time.

Available in: Paperback

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Designing Ecological Habitats

E. Christopher Mare, Max O. Lindegger

Paperback $29.95