This is not a very good review of The Localization Reader. More like a few notes.
For a better review, click here.
Right, so now onto a few short notes.
It’s interesting that the book’s subtitle is Adapting to the Coming Downshift. Somewhere in there, the editor notes that the word “Downshift” was chosen because “Collapse” sounds too scary.
Joseph Tainter, in one excerpt (from “The Collapse of Complex Societies“), discusses how long, maybe even multi-generational social collapses can actually benefit societies as a whole, as they become simpler and less energy is devoted to maintenance of social structures. Not the most pessimistic of conclusions, coming from a book on collapse.
My favourite so far is a chart on fossil fuel use. I couldn’t find the exact one on the Internet, but here’s something close:
That’s it. Fossil fuels will be a brief spike in the long history of the world. We remember the Romans, the Greeks, and other ancient peoples. One day, we will be remembered as an ancient people.
I derive a curious sort of motivation from these long time perspectives and these society-wide sweeping arguments. It’s too easy to get caught up in the modern world. Then you forget that humans did wonderful things when the only sources of power were wind, water, muscle, and little else. When skills were passed down from generation to generation with absolute reassurance that they would be passed down again. Macro-scale perspective, if you breathe deep, is not so bad.