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A Remembrance of Ernest Callenbach

Ernest Callenbach died a couple of weeks ago at the age of 83. You may not recognize his name, but his book, 'Ecotopia' was an extremely influential early novel of environmentalism. It has been translated into a dozen languages and buy fioricet has sold nearly a million copies since it was first self-published in 1975. I would have to say that I am the EcoGeek that I am because of Ernest Callenbach.

'Ecotopia' presents an alternative future where Northern California, Oregon, and Washington State have seceded from a collapsing United States that is choked with pollution. The new country has isolated itself from its parent country, and the book is levitra to buy presented as the journal of the first reporter from the levitra online us pharmacy US to visit, some 20 years after secession, to see how Ecotopians live. The Ecotopian lifestyle was more connected to canadian generic levitra online the land, more interpersonal, and more conscious of environmental effects. It may not be a realistic possibility, but it offers a compelling vision for what could be aspired to.

I had a brief email correspondence with Ernest Callenbach for a possible interview for EcoGeek (to be part of the EcoGeek of the Week series). I had only done a few of these interviews; a couple of them went well; a couple others less so (and never got published). Ernest Callenbach was a hero to me, and I didn't want to screw that one up, and I wanted to ask good questions. I have the first part of that discussion, but things telescoped and other things came up and the interview was never finished. What follows is that interview segment.

Sorry for the delay in replying. I will try below to get things started, in a telegraphic sort of way; I can embroider and extend them if you're interested. For my general approach to ecological matters, you might want to take a look at ECOLOGY: A POCKET GUIDE. Its entry on Energy, for instance, tries to give a quick-and-dirty summary of thermodynamics, which is actually quite relevant to what technology can and can't do for us. . . .

EcoGeek: What did you imagine the world would be like when you were a kid? Is it better or worse than your childhood fantasies?

EC: As a young kid I imagined it would stay pretty much the same, actually; it wasn't until I got into high school that I understood anything about history and change. I was a pre-teen when WW2 began, and after that, of course, it was clear that a lot would change, for better or worse. I grew up in a rural area of 120 cod tablet tramadol central Pennsylvania, where it was inconceivable that human impacts could derange natural systems to the extent we have experienced since. Or that science and medicine could have the reach and elegance they have achieved. Or that social alienation could reach its current pitch. Or that people could have relatively free sex lives!

EcoGeek: What new technologies do you think have the potential for the greatest impact on the environment?

EC: The escape of certain deleterious GM plant materials could be utterly catastrophic to everything except microbial life--much worse than nuclear war, conceivably. But the cialis online american old technologies--all that involve burning stuff--are much more likely to lead to environmental (and human) decline. (Not that new technologies are a helluva lot more innocent!)

EcoGeek: What environmental issues do you think are going to require technological intervention? Or, to put it a bit better perhaps, what environmental problems do you think *can* be remedied by technological intervention?

EC: I wrote a whole relatively techno-optimist book, ECOTOPIA, on this and related questions. But technological intervention depends on social processes, ultimately. Right now the dominant social process is profit- seeking, and it is unclear (to put it kindly) whether current societies will be able to mobilize the required technological changes.

EcoGeek: In an earlier EcoGeek interview, Karl Schroeder contributed this question, which I think is a good one to ask: Do you believe that sustainability is a zero-sum game? --In other words, that in order for us to live within our environmental means, we must scale back or abandon our ambitions in other areas?

EC: Under current technologies (in the broad sense--including agriculture, for instance) we are certainly in a zero-sum game. We might discuss another type of question too: what can new technology contribute toward a "soft landing" of industrial consumerism? (I am temperamentally a gradualist, and I doubt if we are confronting quick collapse, but the likely landing seems to be on the hard side.)

Let me know what you think of these comments, and of ECOTOPIA if you've had the chance to look at it again!

I'm extremely sorry I never followed up with that, and I'm sorry that I didn't have the chance to correspond with him further.

Ernest Callenbach had written a final letter to his readers, which was discovered on his computer after his death and was recently published. I found it well worth reading and insightful, going beyond the caricatures of Ecotopia and presenting his views of the possible in the present day.

Ecotopia and Ecotopia Emerging - by Ernest Callenbach

Adapted from a longer Remembrance of Ernest Callenbach (p s proefrock architecture)

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Comments (5)Add Comment
Thought this might fit
written by anthony crain, May 08, 2012
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Living Flora Buildings
Nice interview
written by Kartono Supirkimas, May 11, 2012
Already seeking for buying this book
Many thanks, Philip!
written by Carol S., May 17, 2012
I very much enjoyed reading "Epistle to good choice levitra in uk the Ecotopians.", As a person who fully expects to have to endure a good part of the next "century or more of exceedingly difficult times," I am willing to make my contribution to shorten the viagra 100mg pills period of adjustment and get on with the jobs that need doing to sustain our Earth. I also deeply hope that we can get out into the solar system, and find ways to harvest the resources there without wreaking quite so much havoc as we have wrought on our own planet.
Why did Callenbach ignore overpopulation and immigration as partial causes for our environmematl problems
written by Delmar Jackson, May 23, 2012
Callenbach was great at picking low hanging fruit. It is easy to attack corporate greed,militarism and buy viagra sale pollution of modern society. However, I never read anything he wrote that touched on the role overpopulation in the 3rd world played in our environmental destruction, or how massive 3rd world immigration to the west helped accelerate our social, economic and environmmental problems.
Most western countries have citizens that strive to pollute less and have low birth rate. The USA would have a stable population without massive immigration. I fail to see how Callenbach could be let off the hook so easily to not mention popualtion growth and massive immigration as part of our environmenmal problems.
I Have not read everything he wrote, so I may be wrong. But I am tired of visionaries and futurists that do not have the courage to speak out on the issue of overpopulation and massive immigration that too may benefit from and then pass on all the social, economic and environmemtal problems to the communities and smear al who speak out as racist or nativist or xenophobes in order to shut down any debate.
Rest in peace sir
written by Jalees, February 02, 2013
Oh So sad smilies/sad.gif Ernest Callenbach was one of the writter. I just loved to viagra soft read his "Ecotopia" Rest in peace sir

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