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

4.5 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: New Society Publishers; First Edition edition (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865716390
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865716391
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #256,587 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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I found The Long Descent to be a true masterpiece that blended the stories cultures tell themselves with the reality of finite resources. John Michael Greer did such a superb job that I figured I'd have to love this book.

I was wrong. This book gets into too many hypotheticals, and feels much more like a science fiction work than an exposition of our future.

Perhaps the difference is that The Long Descent had the freedom of generalities and broad strokes where The Ecotechnic Future had the much more difficult task of fine detail.

I loved The Party's Over, Twilight in the Desert, The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, The Crash Course, Oil at $200 a Barrel, etc. but I found this book fell flat.
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Let me put it this way: If Greer is correct in his predictions then the Ecotechnic Future is one of the most important books now occupying shelf space in any library. And, if he's wrong, at least you spent a few hours enjoying a thought-provoking read.

What I like about this book is that Greer shows an unusually large amount of humility and restraint for a futurist. Rather than paint a dramatic and detailed picture of America's future, he has the maturity to make some broad guesses while acknowledging the details are currently unknowable (and largely irrelevant).

Greer is at his best when reminding us that humans get no exemptions from ecological law, and he uses Nature as a great source for metaphors for the current human condition. An articulate writer with encyclopedic knowledge, Greer takes us on a compelling jaunt through a decidedly downbeat future. Weirdly, it was enjoyable.

I've bought copies of this book for two of my friends. The ultimate vote.
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Format: Paperback
I have never seen the word "brilliant" used so often in reviews and book blurbs (I just used it myself!), but that's the best description for John Michael Greer's exploration of our current ecological crisis and the challenges and opportunities that await us in the near future. Greer has written before about peak oil; I bought The Echotecnic Future because his other exploration of the subject, The Long Descent, was so fascinating and informative I couldn't put it down. This book was even better. It's divided into three sections: Orientations (explaining where we are now, how we got here, and where we may be going as a society); Resources (detailing how areas of human endeavor such as food, work, energy, and science may change after the age of cheap energy); and Possibilities (putting it all in perspective as part of a larger cycle that has governed past societies). Greer draws upon vast knowledge of many disciplines (around one hundred sources are listed in the bibliography) and the text is extensively footnoted. A helpful index is also included. It's not a gloom-and-doom book, but rather a clear eyed, realistic, yet still hopeful vision for our future. It is also written with lyrical, luminous prose that is a joy to read.

John Michael Greer writes about many subjects not normally addressed by peak oil authors, like ritual magic, druidry, and secret societies. Don't let that make you doubt his scholarship or his ability to authoritatively address a more prosaic subject. (And, as an aside, I really enjoyed his book "Monsters" and have read it several times!) I can't recommend The Ecotecnic Future enough. John Michael Greer is a wonderful, intelligent writer who will entertain, inform, and challenge you.
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