Friday, December 24, 2010

The Long Emergency

The Long Emergency by James Howard Kunstler is an interesting book, for serveral reasons. The first is that the author has tried to take a reasoned approach to peak oil and its consequences. Kunstler is on the pessimistic end of the spectrum in his views, but he presents well reasoned arguments to support them. I agree with some of it, some I don't.

The part I do agree with is that increasingly expensive and scarce oil over the next decade or so is going to force a radical shift in how we organize our society. For example, Kunstler examines how much fossil fuel is required to farm in the form of fuel, fertilizer and pesticide, and paints a dim picture of what happens as it oil runs out. He predicts many more of us will be engaged in food production in the future.

He is also highly dubious about the survival of our large cities and their suburbs in their present form, and goes so far as to make some broad predictions about the prospects for different regions of the US as oil becomes scarcer. It's not a pretty picture.

On the whole, the book is well written and informative, although it suffers from being written only a few years after 9/11, and the general paranoia that gripped Americans after the event is very evident. So are Kunstler's biases toward the region he grew up and lives in. However, these are easily seen and allowances can be made for them.

If nothing else, Kunstler's book makes an excellent starting point for you to investigate the possible consequences facing us here in Canada. Give yourself a present and put this in yoiur Christmas stocking.....

Merry Christmas!

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