Ecotopia by Ernest CallenbachIm a die-hard lefty and I still think this is a terrible book. Its poorly written, biased, and short-sighted propaganda. I read as much of it as I could before I just had to throw it down in disgust, and this was at a time when I was young enough believe I had to finish every book that I read. For decades this was the only book I couldnt finish.
Its really not even worth my time to review thoroughly so Ill give you just one example of how stupid and ill-conceived it is: The people are environmentalists and yet they refuse to paint or upkeep their houses because its natural to just let the wood fall back to its natural state. Hunh?? Since when is it environmental to waste wood by letting it rot away? Oh yes, lets cut down even more trees than we already are.
I also was upset with the weird violent arena thing they had going on. I didnt get far enough to find out what that was about but it disturbed me.
About a decade ago I told a friend who loved it how much I hated the book. Years later he came up to me and told me that he had re-read it as a full adult and he now agreed with me: the book is junk.
Dont waste your time, read something about real change and real activism.
Ecotopia: The Notebooks and Reports of William Weston Summary & Study Guide
Earnest Callenbach's Ecotopia is a small country made up of what used to be Washington, Oregon, and Northern California. The story takes place in , which is twenty-five years after it was written, in In the story, Ecotopia has been an independent nation for nineteen years, and most Americans, including the United States government, still do not know much of anything about their northwestern neighbor. The Ecotopians are secretive and cut off from their American counterparts and this has bred hostility from many on both sides of the border. The Times-Post of New York, with the approval of the president of the United States, sends William Weston, an internal affairs reporter, to Ecotopia to write a story explaining what is going on in Ecotopia. This book is structured as a collection of reports sent to the Times-Post for his story and entries from his personal diary.
Washington, Oregon, and Northern California break away from the United States and form their own nation called Ecotopia. For 19 years, Ecotopia remains a mystery to the American people. Many myths and rumors exist about the people of Ecotopia and how they live, but there are no real concrete facts. The American government realizes that they must acknowledge the fact that Ecotopia is probably here to stay, and so they must negotiate foreign relations with them. William Weston is an international affairs reporter. He is sent openly by the Times-Post, as well as secretly by the American government into Ecotopia to gain whatever information he can. Weston explains the fact that several other countries around the world are following the example of Ecotopia and are splitting into smaller countries.
The society described in the book is one of the first ecological utopias and was influential on the counterculture and the green movement in the s and thereafter. The author himself claimed that the society he depicted in the book is not a true utopia in the sense of a perfect society , but, while guided by societal intentions and values, was im perfect and in-process. But without these alternate visions, we get stuck on dead center. 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".
Few philosophies have a greater mutual suspicion and natural antipathy to each other than libertarianism and ecology. This is not surprising, since the former takes the human individual and the latter the nonhuman environment, as its sovereign concern. But since our state-plagued era has seen the degradation of both individual liberties and the quality of the environment, we ought to question the degree to which these exist in an inverse relationship. Ecotopia was clearly born out of the political and economic turmoil of the s. In other words, it was a time much like our own, which may be why there has been a renewal of interest in the book in the last few years. Well, not quite, as we shall see. These led him to a solution that had long since been thought impossible in American politics: secession.