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The Long Descent
A User's Guide to the End of the Industrial Age
The author of Dark Age America shares a harrowing vision of the future and what you can do to take action and make change.
Americans are expressing deep concern about US dependence on petroleum, rising energy prices and the threat of climate change. Unlike the energy crisis of the 1970s, however, there is a lurking fear that, now, the times are different, and the crisis may not easily be resolved.
The Long Descent examines the basis of such fear through three core themes:
- Industrial society is following the same well-worn path that has led other civilizations into decline, a path involving a much slower and more complex transformation than the sudden catastrophes imagined by so many social critics today.
- The roots of the crisis lie in the cultural stories that shape the way we understand the world. Since problems cannot be solved with the same thinking that created them, these ways of thinking need to be replaced with others better suited to the needs of our time.
- It is too late for massive programs for top-down change; the change must come from individuals.
Hope exists in actions that range from taking up a handicraft or adopting an “obsolete” technology, through planting an organic vegetable garden, taking charge of your own health care or spirituality, and building community.
Focusing eloquently on constructive adaptation to massive change, this book will have wide appeal.
Praise for The Long Descent
“At once erudite and entertaining, Greer’s exploration of the dynamics of societal collapse couldn’t be more timely.” —Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow, Post Carbon Institute, and author of The Party’s Over and Peak Everything
“Candidates for public office, and the voters who elect them, should be required to read [Greer’s] accurate diagnosis of the terminal illness our fossil-energy subsidized industrial civilization has too long denied. He shows how stubborn belief in perpetual progress blinded us to the abyss toward which we were speeding and thus impeded wise preparation for our unavoidable descent into a deindustrial age. We must hope that the array of mitigating tools he prescribes may yet render that descent down the back side of Hubbert’s peak less devastating than it will be if we insistently claim a right to be prodigal in using this finite Earth.” —Willam R. Catton, Jr., author of Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change
John Michael Greer historian of ideas and one of the most influential authors exploring the future of industrial society, writes the widely cited weekly blog "The Archdruid Report" and has published more than thirty books on ecology, history, and nature spirituality. His involvement in sustainability issues dates back to the early 1980s, when he was active in the Appropriate Technology movement and became certified as a Master Conserver. He is the author of numerous titles, including The Long Descent, The Ecotechnic Future, The Wealth of Nature, and After Progress. He lives in Cumberland, MD, an old mill town in the Appalachians, with his wife Sara.
Limits and Prospects for Human Survival
Looking to the Past to Reinvent the Future
Thriving Beyond Sustainability
Pathways to a Resilient Society
Adapting Our Homes and Our Lives to Settle in Place
Climate Change, Cultural Collapse, and the Hard Future Ahead