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Re: SC13

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April 21, 2006 02:12PM
Sorry, unable to provide web address for this info, due to web address error.

This book, "The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the 21st Century" by James Howard Kunstler [Atlantic Monthly Press (2005) ISBN 0-87113-888-3] is depressing. Nonetheless it should be in the background of every thinking, questioning, concerned citizen of the 21st century.

Regarding this book, the principal themes are several: Virtually everything in our present economy requires, is made from or is based on gas or oil, from agriculture through transportation. Fluid fossil fuels - natural gas and oil - and their derivatives are past their prime in availability. As both their scarcity and worldwide demand increase, they will price themselves out of utility for all but the most wealthy individuals, corporations or nations. Alternative energy sources will NOT substitute adequately. Consequently, civil society will HAVE to reconstitute itself, becoming more local, more self-reliant at every level of organization. Ultimately humanity will have to do without essentially all the gas- and petroleum-derived amenities presently taken for granted. It is an important and sobering exercise to step through everything in everyday middle-class American life that currently is derived from, or dependent upon, cheap fluid fossil fuels.........

Much of what we experience today will be unable to maintain itself: corporations, cities, suburban sprawl, mega-structures in general. Kunstler's model of the impending future is something between that of the Amish today and the early years of the twentieth century before extensive motorized transport. Muscle power, human or animal, will significantly replace motorized or mechanical. Cities will become progressively more dysfunctional than they are at present. The spreadout suburbs are doomed by the unavailability of cheap transport. Localities will have to become more compact and self-sufficient agriculturally and otherwise. Vast areas will be unable to support and sustain their present populations. Conflict over arable land, water and ready resources is likely but will only further deplete and diminish each. Society will have to contract, reconfigure, reorganize and reconstruct on a much more local scale. Individuals will fare better who produce something tangibly useful. Paperpushers, number jugglers and managers beware!
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