Saturday, August 27, 2005

BOOKS: The Long Emergency -- future w/out oil -- by James Kunstler

What follows is a brief synopsis, and then an excerpt, from the book, "The
Long Emergency," published in May, by James Kunstler.

Title Long Emergency
Author(s) James Howard Kunstler
Publisher Atlantic Monthly Press
Publication Date May 1, 2005
Format Hardcover, 320 pages
ISBN 0871138883

Kunstler is a journalist who has been on staff at Rolling Stone and now lives in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. He is one of the "experts" featured in the documentary: "The End of Suburbia", which played at Images Cinema a few months ago.

He paints a future scenario resulting from diminished, and high-priced oil. Kuntsler predicts that local will become far more important, especially local food production. Other predictions: A likely return to use of nuclear power. The U.S. now produces from its owns territory only one quarter of the oil which it uses -- in 1970 it produced all of its needs internally. Kunstler predicts that the Pacific Northwest, the Upper Midwest and New England are the three regions which will be the least-worse off, and that smaller cities and villages -- with good farmland around them -- will also suffer least.

Kunstler concludes: "These are daunting and even dreadful prospects. The Long Emergency is going to be a tremendous trauma for the human race. We will not believe that this is happening to us, that 200 years of modernity can be brought to its knees by a world-wide power shortage. The survivors will have to cultivate a religion of hope -- that is, a deep and comprehensive belief that humanity is worth carrying on. If there is any positive side to stark changes coming our way, it may be in the benefits of close communal relations, of having to really work intimately (and physically) with our neighbors, to be part of an enterprise that really matters and to be fully engaged in meaningful social enactments instead of being merely entertained to avoid boredom."


Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century

by James Howard Kunstler


With his classics of social commentary "The Geography of Nowhere and "Home from Nowhere, James Howard Kunstler has established himself as one of the great commentators on American space and place. Now, with "The Long Emergency, he offers a shocking vision of a post-oil future. The last two hundred years have seen the greatest explosion of progress and wealth in
the history of mankind. But the oil age is at an end. The depletion of nonrenewable fossil fuels is about to radically change life as we know it, and much sooner than we think. As a result of artificially cheap fossil-fuel energy we have developed global models of industry, commerce,
food production, and finance that will collapse. "The Long Emergency tells us just what to expect after we pass the tipping point of global peak oil production and the honeymoon of affordable energy is over, preparing us for economic, political, and social changes of an unimaginable scale. Are we laboring under a Jiminy Cricket syndrome when we tell ourselves that alternative means of energy are just a few years away? Even once they are developed, will they ever be able to sustain us in the way that fossil fuels once did? What will happen when our current plagues of global warming, epidemic disease, and overpopulation collide to exacerbate the
end of the oil age? Will the new global economy be able to persevere, or will we be forced to revert to the more agrarian, localized economy we once knew? Could corporations like Wal-Mart and McDonald's, built on the premise of cheap transportation, become a thing of the past? Will the misguided experiment of suburbia--considered a birthright and a reality by millions of Americans--collapse when the car culturebecomes obsolete? Riveting and authoritative. "The Long Emergency is a devastating indictment that brings new urgency and accessibility to the critical issues that will shape our future, and that we can no longer afford to ignore. It is bound to become a classic of social science.

READ AN EXCERPT OF THE BOOK (published April 13, 2005 in Rolling Stone magazine) AT:


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