May 31, 2012
John Michael Greer on peak oil and the end of the industrial age.
In his compelling book The Long Descent, John presents a challenging new vision of the future, traces the decline and fall of an industrial society fatally out of balance with planetary limits and shows how personal change and local action can shape a better tomorrow.
Topics discussed include: peak oil, the energy crisis, nuclear power, the myth of progress, the myth of apocalypse, the global financial crisis, population growth, technology, societal collapse, survivalism, getting rid of your TV and – the good news – beer.
The world is finally beginning to wake up to its critical dependence on oil and the vitally important issues associated with it such as rapidly 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:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. It is too late for massive programmes to implement 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.
John Michael Greer is a certified Master Conserver, organic gardener, and scholar of ecological history. The current Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America (AODA), his widely-cited blog, The Archdruid Report deals with peak oil, among other issues.