Posted on February 18, 2015 @ 07:36:00 AM by Paul Meagher
Ernest Callenbach wrote an influential future-fiction book in 1975 called Ecotopia.
References to the Ecotopia concept are popping up more often in some of the Permaculture reading I do. In Sweden, Permaculture is almost synoymous with Ecotopia. The concept of Ecotopia has the power to encompass many diverse movements from permaculture, to bioregionalism, to transition towns, to ecovillages, to urban gardening and beyond. In many ways these movements are attempts to create utopias according to ecological principles. Are we just engaged in these activities to produce food, protect watershed, live communally, etc... or are these diverse activities rooted in a deeper striving towards Ecotopia? The concept/vision of Ecotopia provides a strong counter-narrative to the prevailing narrative that we must grow our economies at all cost (Ecotopians prefer a steady-state economy instead). Ecotopia also provides a concrete vision for where society must move to in order to be more sustainable, more worthy of our toil, and more enjoyable. You can judge for yourself by watching an excellent 1982 interview with Ernest Callenback in which the Ecotopian vision is discussed. It is amazing to see how relevant his ideas still are - not just a few of them - but most of them.
The point of this blog is not to get all mushy and do-goody, although there is nothing wrong with that. It is also to identify a trend or wave to watch out for or to facilitate. I would argue that without knowing it many parents today (and our educational system) are trying to raise kids to be good Ecotopians even through they live in a world of contradictions (e.g., driving to work in oversized vehicles, eating too much processed food, creating too much waste, living in unsustainable housing arrangements, poor land use, etc...). Eventually the generation that supports and sustains these contradictions will die off (and is dying off) and a new generation, generation-e, will take over. That will be a good thing (ecologically-speaking) and it will also be a world that we can help lay the groundwork for by providing parents with better gen-e products and services at affordable prices. This may sound like I'm commercializing this, and I am, but gen-e products and services will be worth buying if they exemplify or allow for better Ecotopian living.
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