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Depletion & Abundance: Life on the New Home Front Paperback – September 1, 2008
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Climate change, peak oil and economic instability aren't just future social problems-they jeopardize our homes and families right now. Our once-abundant food supply is being threatened by toxic chemical agriculture, rising food prices and crop shortages brought on by climate change. Funding for education and health care is strained to the limit, and safe and affordable housing is disappearing.
Depletion and Abundance explains how we are living beyond our means with or without a peak oil/climate change crisis and that, either way, we must learn to place our families and local communities at the center of our thinking once again. The author presents strategies to create stronger homes, better health and a richer family life and to
- live comfortably with an uncertain energy supply
- prepare children for a hotter, lower energy, less secure world
- survive and thrive in an economy in crisis, and
- maintain a kitchen garden to supply basic food needs.
Most importantly, readers will discover that depletion can lead to abundance, and the anxiety of these uncertain times can be turned into a gift of hope and action.
An unusual family perspective on the topic, this book will appeal to all those interested in securing a future for their children and grandchildren.(2008-05-07)
Protecting present and future generations in times of crisis.
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I had high hopes for this book and was grossly disappointed. There are many good works on the subjects covered herein, and I encourage you to skip this one and go straight to the better options.
This is not just another of those doom-and-gloom, batten-down-the-hatches-and-man-the-lifeboat handbooks we have seen so many of in the past few years. I've read most of those other books, and while they are helpful in understanding why we are where we are (in terms of energy depletion, climate change, and overwhelming personal and national debt), they don't go very far toward helping us deal with the problems we are facing.
Depletion and Abundance is different. For one thing, it is written by a woman--a smart, well-informed, and energetic woman. She is also a mother of four small children who manages to grow a garden, put food in the freezer, home school the kids, and write about it. These are not small matters, for all of the other books that have been written about energy, environmental, and economic woes have been written by men, bless 'em. These writers understand conceptually what we are facing and tell us with great authority and occasional sympathy just how bad it's likely to be. But Sharon Astyk is different. She speaks with authority and sympathy, but she focuses on how we can manage when tough times come. She writes with cheerfulness, humor, and great personal commitment. I'm betting that, if anybody can show us the way forward, she can.
For another thing, Depletion and Abundance is a book about the "new home front"--and if you ask me, this is where our real battles will be fought: not in Washington or in some foreign country, and not with guns (we hope). We will be trying to make our lives better at home. We will be working with a toolkit that women will need to know how to acquire and use: food from the garden, low-energy appliances, and care and attention to the wise conservation and deployment of the family's resources of time, effort, and money, in and out of the "official economy." Peak oil and gas, the use of coal and nuclear and renewable resources--these are public issues and must of course be addressed by national and local governments. But as Astyk points out repeatedly, it all comes home in the end. Home is where we will find sufficiency or scarcity, and it is women who will man the home front. This is a new message, an important message. We need to listen up.
Depletion and Abundance is full of important and helpful ideas. Astyk suggests ways we can reduce our consumption, get out of debt, and learn how to use what we have--use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without: the real homeland security, as she sees it. She has learned to live on seasonal produce and local foods. She and her family have faced the frightening fact that our futures may not be fully or continuously electrified (as I write this, Hurricane Ike has imposed this knowledge on some four million reluctant learners). Astyk has learned how to cope and she tells us how. Indeed, she is never stingy with her ideas. There's a 14-page appendix full of good suggestions for turning less into more, and more, and more.
And that, at least for me, is what is most important about this book. Yes, we're facing an unpredictable future where there will be less of everything. But the human spirit, as Astyk shows us, is capable of a marvelous alchemy. We can turn tough times into a test, and pass it. We can become self-sufficient, and in the process, learn how to recognize true abundance when we see it. Hers is an optimistic vision, to be sure--overly optimistic, in some ways. But we need optimism now, don't we? And if we need it now, we'll need it even more next week or next year or the years after that, in what may be a future most of us don't want to think about.
Read Depletion and Abundance and see if it doesn't change your ideas about what's ahead. It just might change your life, too.
by Susan Wittig Albert
for Story Circle Book Reviews
reviewing books by, for, and about women
Second, I do not agree with her politics. I do not agree with what she assumes the government ought to do nor the aspects of American's citizen's life for which she assumes the federal government is responsible.
Her views of the future, her environmental views and her political views are the lens through which she makes her recommendations and the underlying pinning of her book.
Third, I do not agree with her position on vaccinations. I respect her position as a the parent of an autistic child who was therefore possibly injured by vaccination (which she references, not my own assumption). She has obviously dealt with their repercussions and does not come to her conclusion without considerable thought and research.
Fourth, I absolutely disagree with a number of her views on reproduction and what she considers "freedom".
With so many of her basic opinions and reasonings at odds with my own then why the 3 star review?
There are other aspects of the books that I do not like or with which I disagree. However, this review is not to debate any of these things
What I like about the book are the many, many solutions
Time to put my son to bed so I will return to edit this review another day though I don't like leaving it with only what I don't like. be assured there are indeed many things I do like and that it is worth your time to read if you are interested in long term solutions to frugal, healthy living and socially conservative solutions - at least some of the ideas and many of the liberal/socialist ideas are not as offensive as usual. she actually seems to be offering compromises and solutions with which many of us can agree despite varying backgrounds/philosophies.