At the Green Festival last year I picked up a 30th anniversary edition copy of Ecotopia, by Ernest Callenbach. It imagines an alternative future (looking forwards from the 1970's) in which Washington, Oregon, and Northern California have seceded from the United States to form a new country called Ecotopia. After decades of little to no communication between the two countries, a US reporter travels to Ecotopia, and this book is made up of his journal entries alternated with the articles he sends back for his newspaper to publish. The country has completely remade its society and technology into a new, ecologically sound, stable-state system (hence the name).
I won't go into the details, since if all that sounds interesting, you should just read it for yourself. But here's why I particularly appreciate it. Whether you agree with all the ideas or not (and yeah, it's a mixed bag) it's the perspective that's important. It steps away from the question "how can we fix or adjust what we have to make it better?" to "what would an ideal system actually look like?" If you ever get bogged down looking at the trees in the first question, use this book to get yourself thinking at the forest level.
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This post is part of Blog Action Day. One issue. One day. Thousands of voices.