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A Prosperous Way Down: Principles and Policies Hardcover – June 13, 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 326 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Colorado (June 13, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870816101
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870816109
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,763,203 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The senescence period of humanity after the loss of our highest quality fuels can be a disaster or it can be planned in a way that will diminish its deleterious aspects. . . . H. T. Odum and his wife, Elisabeth, have provided a blueprint for the future with their excellent book A Prosperous Way Down."
- Ecological Modelling


"Of value to all who wish to learn more about a future in which sustainability and prosperity coexist. General readers; upper-division undergraduates and up."
- Choice


“It might well be said of Howard T. Odum that his ideas suffered inordinately for being far ahead of their time. Today's mainstream paradigm or methodology was often his outrageous suggestion of yesteryear."
- Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Howard T. Odum was internationally renowned for his development of the science of systems ecology and as a pioneering voice in environmental science, ecology, and ecological engineering and economics. Elisabeth C. Odum is professor emeritus at Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, Florida.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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55 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Thomas A. Robertson on March 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover
From Enron to the September 11, 2001 disasters, it is apparent things are changing in our world, much as we would like to keep things as they were.
In "The Prosperous Way Down" H.T. Odum does not give us feel-good babble.
Instead, he delivers to us a coherent and timely way to do the hard work of knowing how our world works, the changes that are already upon us, and some of the things we may do to increase our opportunity for security and satisfaction in a world that may be very different from what we know today.
There is a lot of contention about Odum and his eMergy methodology. This is to be expected. Odum brings things together, where others are content to be expert with parts.
The bottom line is that with the intellectual tools Odum lets us discover, we can learn to manage far more complexity than any would normally think possible. He lets us first recognize the problems we have with the signals our society sends out through economic and other circumstances of social behavior. And then the tools he provides let us clean up those signals, so we may make better use of the energy and other resources, the environment, and all the benefits (and problems) inherent in our diverse cultures.
The difficulty in all this is indicated by the fact that there is no Nobel prize for looking at the whole of our world. Those fabulous awards go to those who are very good at knowing parts, with very little idea of how the parts come together.
Instead, there is the very quiet Crafoord Prize for those who try to let us know more about the systems of our world--which of course H.T. Odum and his brother Eugene won back in the early 1980s.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Pamela Lesh on November 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I ran across this book in a library by chance and checked it out because the title intrigued me. About 20 pages in, I decided to purchase the book because I knew I would go back to it time and time again. Howard Odum's ability to explain why things are the way they are because that is how ecosystems operate is masterful and the work he did to place energy sources on a comparable basis (the sun) is unique so far as I am aware. The concepts presented in the first part of the book have stayed with me for months now. The solutions he offers toward the end of the book are just that -- ideas on possible solutions. They are interesting but not as compelling and memorable as the first part of the book. Ultimately, each community, at whatever level in the system, will need to develop strategies to move toward their visions in an ever-changing world. Static solutions will not do much good. But read the first part of this book to understand those very dynamics.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By C. Tenreiro Leiva on February 24, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is excellent, in many ways, starting from the fact that Odum's presents you with a positive and optimistic idea to handle the analysis of today's problems (or many of them). After that he clearly say that there is a way to do this, which is based on "cutting off" the excess in an clever manner, but keeping the standards, rather than been pessimistic, so you get into his model of analysis quite easily. Of course, you can disagree with some of the ideas but as a whole you will have to admit that his proposal is to study the integrated systems, including economy, and for that he construct a tool to analyze nowadays problems related with the excess of demand for energy, and on the top of this, to study the impact (as is naturally expected from the second law of thermodynamics) of man's intervention on the planet. The latter is due to the fact that energy is, at any level you want to analyze it, the source and the driving force of life for the mammal called human. In this book you find the basic definition of his idea, based on the modular concept derived from circuitry design in electronics, so you can have the notion of a complex systems (including interactions) in clear and brief picture.
Of course if you want to calculate some quantities and do some modeling by yourself, you will need to go into the other more technical books on the subject and/or also to go in some of the web sites dedicated to emergy analysis and modeling.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By BenH on April 3, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I could quibble about some of the authors' wording and labels. But why?

For anyone who resonates with systems-thinking and realizes that our various human-contrived systems are topping out, this book is a must read for its penetrating, multilayer, calorie-based interpretation of human activities on planet Earth.

Most authors would have taken twice the number of pages. Thankfully, the Odums present their thinking in a concentrated form. Still, the book is not short. So be prepared to spend some time with it. And sometimes concentrated text, if not crafted to perfection, is even more difficult than discursive text.

This has greatly deepened and clarified my understanding of ecology, economics, energy, permaculture, and public policy-making.

The Odums discussion of money in our culture is similar to mine in that they see it essentially as an accounting tool for MEASURING and ALLOCATING the use of energy. I see it also as a way of ALLOCATING/REGULATING who gets how much of the collective product/output/pie.

To make it easier on my eyes, I wish they had labeled their concept of embedded energy as 'embergy' instead of 'emergy.'

Given what this book reveals to me about the workings of nature and humans, I predict that smart money will soon be getting out of Dodge and heading for a remote mountain ecostery, or for one of the less populated Hawaiian Islands.
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