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Ecotechnic Future Paperback – 10 Jan 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: New Society Publishers (10 Jan 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865716390
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865716391
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 345,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

This is an extremely erudite book, filled with references to philosophies, and ancient works, which is also readable and an exciting addition to what might be called the 'libraries of the future', which try to make sense of our predicament and offer not just hope, but a intellectual route map to a better way of living.— ,earthtimes.org

About the Author

John Michael Greer is a certified Master Conserver, organic gardener and scholar of ecological history. His widely-cited blog, The Archdruid Report, deals with peak oil. He is the author of The Long Descent and lives in Ashland, Oregon.

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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Littrell TOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 Mar 2010
Format: Paperback
The underlying assumption of this book is that fossil fuels cannot be effectively replaced, neither cost-effectively nor in the gross amount of available energy. And once the fossil fuels are gone, they are gone forever, meaning that industrial civilization as we know it will collapse--or more to be hoped, industrial society will experience a slow decline into what Greer calls "The Ecotechnic Future." Along the way there will be "scarcity industrialism" and a "salvage society." Some bad times will be had by almost everybody, and for some it will be horrific.

The idea that renewable energy sources won't measure up to what we are wantonly consuming today is not new, but it is sobering. (And we do need to sober up.) Robert U. Ayres and Edward H. Ayres make a more modest point in their book, Crossing the Energy Divide: Moving from Fossil Fuel Dependence to a Clean-Energy Future (2010). They argue persuasively that regardless of how much money the government and private enterprise put into the development of green alternatives, those sources of energy will not be developed fast enough. Their prescription is more efficient use of fossils fuels until the green revolution catches up.

Greer doesn't see any catching up. He writes that the world's annual energy consumption equals about one-fourth of the total solar energy absorbed by green plants annually with 86% of that coming from fossil fuels. (p. 247) Instead of energy conservation helping us to a sustainable future, he sees four "sweeping impacts on human life" to come. They are

(1) Depopulation. Quite simply, "the population bubble of the last few centuries is just as much a product of the exploitation of fossil fuels as the industrial age itself.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mr. R. G. Kent on 23 Feb 2010
Format: Paperback
Excellent book, with some useful ideas for his preferred scenario of long slow decline. But he frequently derides alternative possibility of rapid collapse. Although Roman city of London went from thriving 60,000 in AD 410 to around 60 in AD 480, whilst Roman Britain went from perhaps 6 million to less than 1 million during same period. And Roman Britain is far from unique example. If anything, our modern world is much more fragile with greater role specialisation and far longer supply chains for food, energy, manufactured goods & spare parts. However, it is difficult to see how one could make realistic plans for similar circumstances. And his suggestions regarding skills and resources would still have great deal of value for those few "lucky" people who survive time of transition.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Thorin Womble on 25 Feb 2010
Format: Paperback
I found it a very easy to understand read, well constructed and jargon free. It was strangely reassuring after having read some other books about the near and medium future on the subject of peak oil and climate change. It draws on the lessons of history in the rise and fall of civilizations. It puts forward a analysis based on ecology, with humans a part of an ecosystem with limits to resources. It doesn't down play the major challenges and difficulties ahead but its does make me feel its not the end of the world for humans in one short disaster, from consumerist industrialism to medievalist survivalist barbarism.

Too many other books scare you silly or try to convince you to smile and pretend its all going to be OK just so long you do your bit in a stick and carrot approach.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Spilbo on 12 Feb 2012
Format: Paperback
First and fore most this book is enormously readable. however, it is also brilliantly informative, and persuasivly written. After reading it I did not feel as though the author sufficiently set out his vision for what the 'ecotechnic' future could be like for this reason alone I have given 4 stars, in all other aspects it deserves 5. That said it does provide some fantastic glimpses of the future, through examining the steps that humanity will need to bring its existence back in line with ecological principles when not artificially supported by cheap abundant energy. Since I finished the book 2 weeks ago my head has been buzzing with questions, so its impact has lasted far beyond the final page.
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Format: Paperback
"The Ecotechnic Future" is a book by John Michael Greer, an independent scholar, organic farmer and Druid (sic) who has become something of a household word within the so-called peak oil community. Greer's book is part of a de facto trilogy, and should be read together with "The Long Descent" and "The Wealth of Nature". Of course, these books do overlap to a great extent. "The Long Descent" is probably the most well-known of the author's peak oil books.

"The Ecotechnic Future" was a joy to read, but is very difficult to review. It covers a *lot* of ground: comparisons between the fate of human civilizations and ecological succession, speculations about the shape of our post-affluent future, practical tips on organic farming and composting, comments on Spengler and Toynbee, criticism of apocalyptic religion and rare glimpses into the author's personal life. His religious faith (Revival Druidry) is mentioned mostly in passing. It seems Greer is at pains to sound as "rational" as possible in his books on our more secular predicaments...

While Greer doesn't believe our civilization is sustainable, he lacks the fiercely apocalyptic perspective of the contemporary doomer scene. In Greer's scenario, the modern world will decline and fall gradually. It won't be pretty, but it won't spell the end of humanity or Nature either. He calls the three stages of the long descent "scarcity industrialism", "salvage economy" and "ecotechnic future". The first phase is marked by the breakdown of neo-liberal globalism and the resurgence of strong, centralized nation-states commandeering the rapidly shrinking resources, but still within a context which is largely industrial.
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