I read this book in less than a week. I expected more, based on the title and was somewhat disappointed...first, Greer takes pages and pages to explaiI read this book in less than a week. I expected more, based on the title and was somewhat disappointed...first, Greer takes pages and pages to explain concepts such as civil religion, double bind and emotional investment, not as they are (clear and straightforward), but from where they originated (for me, an unnecessary detour). For example, he used two pages to explain how Gregory Bateson studied schizophrenic patients, when he could have explained double bind in half a page. At one moment, I thought I was readying a book about schizophrenic and not about people reaction to peak oil. Second, I became even more disappointed at the end of the book, when Greer throws fundamentalist Christians and New Ages together with environmentalists! I have been readying about peak oil, resource depletion, climate change and its impacts, economic and social failure, etc. for more than a year now. I am surprised that a serious author may dispose of something like climate change comparing it to the Rapture or some sort of supernatural mind who will “save” us...climate change is real (I am studying it at a high level course at the university just to understand the facts and develop my own ideas around it). If we compare the complexities and impacts, I would say that those of climate change are much deeper than peak oil. If, by means of a magical turn, everybody (governments and regular citizens of the world) suddenly “get” the peak oil problem and decide to change their lifestyles and plans, we may adapt to a different world, one where energy is not just costly but scarce. And yes, this will impact how we produce, transport and conserve food; will impact how we heat our houses, cook, work, travel, etc. But we will survive...after all; we have lived without oil for many years before. Just to clarify: I do get that now we have more people and that the slide down won’t be easy. It will be terrible, as it already is for many people in many countries in the world...the problem is that peak oil is not the only problem, and probably not the biggest one we have. The way we have exploited the “resources” (and continue to do so) has destroyed diversity, affected water supply and caused changes in the climate that we are just starting to experience. These changes won’t necessarily be “big” or sudden as in “The Day after tomorrow” movie...but they will impact other things we depend on (and not just us, but other species as well, many of which we need so ecosystems function properly so we can get food, air and water). Finally, I found the book a bit unrealistic: it ends with a suggestion to mental health practitioners so they can work with people affected by peak oil awareness...uhmm! I’m not sure whether people affected by unemployment, the need to prepare their families and communities for an uncertain future and probably already affected by some of the things peak oil, resource scarcity, etc bring to them would have the time or means to pay a psychologist or counsellor... The book makes a good effort to explain what happens to people who are in denial. It also explains why governments and others in power seem to ignore peak oil and make decisions in the other direction. But they do exactly the same with biodiversity extinction, water scarcity, climate change, social injustice, economic inequality, etc. I would have liked more detail on how to introduce the concept to people in denial, or a study on why some “get” it so fast and with minimal pain and some reject the concept fiercely. I was also expecting more vision on how to mentally and emotionally “prepare” for an uncertain (and probably terrible) future...I know this is tricky, but it would be good a try.
The author is not a specialist, and we may not learn too many practical things, but she shares her view and is honest about her own fears and doubts.The author is not a specialist, and we may not learn too many practical things, but she shares her view and is honest about her own fears and doubts. I liked it and it may be a good introduction on the subjet of transition, depletion and peak oil....more
I started reading this book with a lot of expectations. The first chapter was great, but after that, none of the suggestions were new. I though it wasI started reading this book with a lot of expectations. The first chapter was great, but after that, none of the suggestions were new. I though it was more "revolutionary" but it talks about investment and charging more for what you "sell" (look for a better paid job, etc.). Not great for my own values and philosophy of life, but OK for somebody looking into what money has become to our lives and how to avoid or get rid of debt...more
Don't get confused. This book is not about how to live in a small house, or about the small house movement. It is a personal book that happens to toucDon't get confused. This book is not about how to live in a small house, or about the small house movement. It is a personal book that happens to touch many social things from our values and how we have chosen to live, to the impact we have in this world. For me, it was almost magical: almost at every chapter, I had something Powers woould say that I needed to check. The book was an invitation to re-think the way I live and the choices I made, as well as to read more books, blogs and start checking on what others were doing. I felt alive and back to my values and I am very thankful for that. It is not an easy book to read, as you may not like Powers journeys to his own search. He was obviously burned out and didn't like what he saw when coming back to US. And he had the lucky opportunity of living in the small house of a very special lady, a fighter herself. This book challenges your comfortable zone, your consumption, your beliefs, and makes you think and discover things you may have not been aware of, such the existence of an entire "other" world developing out there: the small house movement, the transition towns, the locavore movement and much more. ...more