Mar 09, Richard rated it really liked it This is one of the most important books ever written -- no joke. Callenbach, writing in the early-mid s, imagines that Washington, Oregon, and Northern California have seceded from the Union to form Ecotopia, a new nation based on "stable-state" today, we call it "sustainable" practices in manufacturing, agriculture, construction, transportation -- the whole gamut. This is a This is one of the most important books ever written -- no joke. This is a novel, but its structure is a gimmick, really. The protagonist is Will Weston, a reporter for the New York Times-Post who is the first American to travel to Ecotopia, nineteen years after secession. Half the chapters are his formal reports for the newspaper, the other half -- in italics -- are his personal journals.
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Callenbach then moved to California. From to , he was on the staff of the University of California Press Berkeley. He began to take environmental issues and their connections to human value systems, social patterns, and lifestyles just as seriously as he had taken film. He was heavily influenced by Edward Abbey. Callenbach talked publicly about being influenced, during work on his novel Ecotopia, by numerous streams of thought: scientific discoveries in the fields of ecology and conservation biology; the urban-ecology planning movement, concerned with an approach to urban planning; and the soft-energy movement, championed by Amory Lovins and others.
While his first novel popularized the term "ecotopia," the term was actually coined by the ethnographer E. In Ecotopia ecologically compatible high-technology exists besides postmaterialistic attitudes and lifestyles. Indeed, for all his involvement with print publishing, Callenbach remained quite interested in visual media. Aspects of his book Ecotopia in some ways anticipated C-SPAN — which came into being a few years later — because in the story the daily life of the legislature and some of that of the judicial courts is televised in this fictional society, and televised debates including technical debates concerning ecological problems meet a need and desire among citizens.
Callenbach was a part of the circle of West Coast technologists, architects, social thinkers, and scientists which included Ursula K. Baldwin , and John Todd. In Callenbach introduced the story of a real-world community movement in Japan that is reminiscent, in its aims and practices, of his Ecotopian society. He visited Japan and investigated the Yamagishi movement.
He found that it encompassed some three dozen intentional communities founded on the same underlying principles: living an ecologically based integration of people with agriculture pig, cattle, and chicken livestock raising, and organic-vegetable and fruit farming , and living a social life based on principles of democracy, mutual understanding, support, and health.
Such changes occurred without anybody getting arrested in the dark of night. Further changes will come
Ecotopia, S. Aus Sicht der Rest-Union schien es eine Sache der politischen Vernunft, zu erfahren, was es mit diesem neuen Staat auf sich hatte. In seinen Tagebuchnotizen zitiert er eine Antwort: What ya wanta go in there anyhow, ya some kind of a nut? Buncha goddam cannibals in there. Weston ist ein Fremder in einem fremdem Land. Er gewinnt Freunde, die ihn zu interessanten und kulturell erleuchtenden Abenteuern begleiten. Er verliebt sich in sie.
Umweltfreundlich und sozial stabil: Ernest Callenbach, Ecotopia (1975)
Context[ edit ] Callenbach wove his story using the fiber of technologies, lifestyles , folkways , and attitudes that were common in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest. The "leading edges" his main ideas for Ecotopian values and practices were patterns in actual social experimentation taking place in the American West. Callenbach placed the genesis of Ecotopia with an article he researched and wrote titled "The Scandal of Our Sewage". Much of the environmentally benign energy, home building and transportation technology described by the author was based on his reading of research findings published in such journals as Scientific American and Science. Members of his fictional society prefer to demonstrate a conscious selectivity toward technology, so that not only human health and sanity might be preserved, but also social and ecological wellbeing. They turned to politics because it was finally the only route to self-preservation. Plot summary[ edit ] The book is set in 25 years in the future from and consists of diary entries and reports of journalist William Weston, who is the first American mainstream media reporter to investigate Ecotopia, a small country that broke away from the United States in