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Monday, October 27, 2008

Depletion and Abundance: Life on the New Home Front

I just finished reading Depletion and Abundance by Sharon Astyk and I would recommend it to anyone who says we “can’t make a difference” or “cutting back on our carbon foot print would leave us living in caves”.
This book would be equally valuable to those who are just too scared or overwhelmed to make such major changes in their lives and need reassurance it can and should be done.

Sharon is an avid blogger and one of my regular reads, a lady who has inspired many of her readers through a self imposed challenge that she and her family of six would create 90% less carbon emissions than the U.S average. This challenge called the Riot for Austerity has grown to some prominence with hundreds of like minded people joining and demonstrating that deep cuts can be made in our emissions without necessarily diminishing your real quality of life. Considering how many of the solutions she puts forward strengthen both family and community it can very easily be shown to improve many aspects of quality of life.

Depletion and Abundance accepts that peak oil, climate change and financial insecurity are all very real and dangerous threats to the status quo but they need not announce the decline of the human story. Family, community, leisure, self expression, happiness and mental and physical health can all flourish quite well in a low carbon future, (provided we begin a transition now in an orderly manner.)

Her arguments that a technological silver bullet will not be found and that we cannot expect to consume our way out of the problem by buying better cars, tearing down and rebuilding all our houses, replacing all our appliances etc.. are very close to my own sentiments on the issue. Simply that the energy and resources to make everything work better, or sustain our gluttonous consumer society will not be available in the future and the best and most ethical solution is simply adapt to use less now!

Sharon has many arguments and examples showing that less stuff, less energy, less travel even less work need not impoverish us or deny us and our a children a productive and happy life. In fact with the hard times I see coming, adapting now to use less will probably be the best solution to keep you from becoming impoverished in the future.

Buy it, read it, live it!

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Hausfrau said...

I love Sharon's book. The way that everything becomes a moral issue is uncomfortable at first, but I think very necessary. I also appreciate that she confronts the population issue head-on and is not afraid to make recommendations, while still acknowledging the very real and difficult choices. Buy it, read it, live it - give it as a Christmas present!!

GAB said...

Thanks for dropping by, I just got the book the day that unfair newspaper article on the book came out so figured I should give it a thumbs up.

the moral component is vital if we are going to convince people to willingly change their lives. Eventually they'll have no choice but starting now will be less traumatic.

Theresa said...

Oh ya, I really liked Sharon's book too. I've since lent it to my dad (along with David Wann's Simple Prosperity), so this should lead to some interesting conversations with him in the near future....