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The Ecotechnic Future: Envisioning a Post-Peak World Paperback – October 1, 2009


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The Ecotechnic Future: Envisioning a Post-Peak World + The Long Descent: A User's Guide to the End of the Industrial Age + The Wealth of Nature: Economics as if Survival Mattered
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: New Society Publishers (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865716390
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865716391
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #425,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.

More About the Author

Born in the gritty Navy town of Bremerton, Washington and raised in the south Seattle suburbs, I began writing about as soon as I could hold a pencil. SF editor George Scithers' dictum that all would-be writers have a million words of so of bad prose in them, and have to write it out, pretty much sums up the couple of decades between my first serious attempt to write a book and my first published book, "Paths of Wisdom", which appeared in 1996. These days I live in Cumberland, Maryland with my spouse Sara; serve as presiding officer -- Grand Archdruid is the official title -- of the Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA), a Druid order founded in 1912; and write in half a dozen nonfiction fields, nearly all of them focused on the revival of forgotten ideas, insights, and traditions of practice from the rubbish heap of history.

Customer Reviews

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See all 22 customer reviews
And, as an aside, I really enjoyed his book "Monsters" and have read it several times!
Scooty
Well written and accessible, this is a fascinating and usefull book that provides a context for which to chart ones own path in these tumultuous times.
Peter Smith
It is this redefinition of what the future and what future technology will look like that is the scope of Greer's most recent book.
Justin Ritchie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Littrell HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 6, 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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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By T. Beeler on December 19, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a welcome leap forward past the earlier works of Richard Heinberg (The Party's Over), James Kunstler (The Long Emergency), Jared Diamond (Collapse) and others. The most important aspect of Mr. Greer's work is that it uses a language that enables further discussion of the post-peak future. Rather than pummeling us senseless with statistics proving the validity of the peak oil hypothesis, he moves forward well past that. Instead he connects the dots between peak-oil, global warming, the future of food, economics, energy, employment, and culture. Using general terms, he wisely avoids being prescriptive about how we might respond to the challenges facing us. The variables are too numerous and fluid to attempt prescriptive solutions. This book is a 'must-read' if you're anxious to move past the body of literature that warns us of impending crisis. It could well become an enduring standard.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Peter Smith on November 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
Following up on his previous work the Long Decline, Author John Michael Greer, has written a masterful thesis where he lays out a case for his vision for humanity as a set of probable outcomes as we begin a tumultuuous transition in the face of physical limits on energy and natural resources. Unlike other visionaries, Greer makes no claim on the exact shape that future holds, he is too well grounded in a broad spectrum of knowledge, from an encylopedic grasp of History, to his keen understanding of disperate fields such as bilogy, and economics, energy and evolution to claim omnisciensce. Instead he offers a theory that integrates his broad spectrum of knowledge with the Ecological concepts of succession. This provide the reader with a context and roadmap for likely scenarios that will unfold and evolve as humanity transitions over a period of time on the order of several centuries to new human ecologies. These new ecologies that will have adapted by neccessity to the energy poor and altered enviornmets of the emergenent future. As JMG is wont to do, he gores a few sacred cows along the way. This is not another uptopic pipe dream vision of the future nor is a complete doom fest. Well written and accessible, this is a fascinating and usefull book that provides a context for which to chart ones own path in these tumultuous times. I highly reccomend it.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Justin Ritchie on April 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
If industrial society turns out to have been little more than finding the fastest way possible to turn raw materials into pollution, the status quo won't be maintained for much longer. We're running out of those raw materials at a rapid pace and the outputs threaten to bring everything down with just as much certainty. We see the possibility of business as usual slipping further and further away as the world falls deeper into a recession which shows no end in sight. In The Ecotechnic Future, John Michael Greer argues that the reason our globalized civilization faces this catastrophe is because our definition of technology is wholly misguided and counters with a realistic vision of the future.

Since the science fiction writers of the early 19th century, our dreams of advanced technology have been synonymous with "extravagant energy use". It is this redefinition of what the future and what future technology will look like that is the scope of Greer's most recent book. Our modern industrial society may be a primitive and vastly inefficient form of the coming ecotechnic society which maximizes the efficiency of its energy resources and obtains raw material inputs sustainably. Of course, at the cost of a more restricted access to goods and services when compared to the globalized supply chains of today.

It seems that Greer is the first to apply the ecological concept of succession to explain the rise and fall of societies. Perhaps our current civilization is just the fast-growing opportunist colonizers of the Earth which will then be replaced by a stable climax community.
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