He was born in Missouri to an academic family, and took an early interest in not only science, but art history, music, and Buddhism. In 1972, he happened to read Limits to Growth, and realised that the world was in for major changes. He became a freelance writer and analyst trying to alert society to the need to find a more sustainable path, working in Toronto and California, and teaching at a small university. In 2007, he accepted an offer to become a senior fellow at the Post-Carbon Institute, playing a very active role in encouraging the development of local sustainable communities, and lecturing widely around the world.
A new way of life will almost certainly emerge from the wreckage of the fossil-fuelled growth era.