For The Long Emergency book group: enter your reading homework for the first three questions here (and enter the last response on your topic page).

9/15 9/22 9/29 10/6 10/13
Ch 1 & 2 (p. 60) Ch 4 (p. 100 – 146 Note: Ch 3 is optional) Ch 5 (p. 184) Ch 6 (p. 234) Ch 7 (p. 307 Note: Epilogue is optional)
  1. Explain how one idea in the reading relates to other topics already covered in class or something you learned elsewhere (another class or life experience).
  2. List what you think are the three to five most important points made in the reading.
  3. Write a question to provoke discussion among others who read the same passage.
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24 Responses to “The Long Emergency


  1. While I still feel this is an excellent and important book, I’ve removed this selection as an option for Spring 2009 to make room for a more recent book. I will leave the comments here so people who are interested in the book can learn more about it.

  2. chasla Says:

    This book was pretty intense and relates to my often deep feelings of fear and hopelessness. I’m scared of what the future holds, but i’m ready to take on the challenges. I feel like we need to suffer and learn to work together. It’s crazy to that so much of what we have built and lived our lives for will be no more. We wont have suburbia or Mcdonals’s or any cheap crap from China. What will we do with ourselves? I’m scared that some of his predictions may come true like deserted towns and cities, military strife, intended epidemics to wipe out populations, serious racial conflict… Will we pull through it? Im overwhelmed

  3. greenbuilderinc Says:

    Sorry about the repeative blogs. I,m not sure what I did!? but I,ll finish up now. I am changing my career not to make more money, but to make a difference to the world and influence other to take action as well. “live simply so others my simply live”.

  4. greenbuilderinc Says:

    My last blog on this book! I hate this book and can’t wait to give it back to the bookstore, so that it can give some other unsuspecting student anxeity attacks. Each time I picked it up to read it I felt a fight or flight sysptoms.
    I kept waiting for the author to give us something positive to feel hopeful about. Instead each chapter seem be a deeper reenforcement than the last that we are big trouble without offering any ideas about changing the currrent path we are headed on.
    He is also pesiamestic about the future of his own political party. I hope that the author is way off with his projections of the future. I,m sure to some degree he is right, but I think he is underestimating the will of the human spirt. Look how countries are working together to avoid finanical crisis. I believe that as people begining to become aware of the looming crisis, as it seems they are slowly becoming aware of, there will be a huge shift in peoples priorities. My wife and I begun to make huge change in our lifestyles. And are constantly learning about more and more ways to reduce our impact on the planet. I have decided to make changes in my career that are not based how much money I can make, bu

  5. greenbuilderinc Says:

    My last blog on this book! I hate this book and can’t wait to give it back to the bookstore, so that it can give some other unsuspecting student anxeity attacks. Each time I picked it up to read it I felt a fight or flight sysptoms.
    I kept waiting for the author to give us something positive to feel hopeful about. Instead each chapter seem be a deeper reenforcement than the last that we are big trouble without offering any ideas about changing the currrent path we are headed on.
    He is also pesiamestic about the future of his own political party. I hope that the author is way off with his projections of the future. I,m sure to some degree he is right, but I think he is underestimating the will of the human spirt. Look how countries are working together to avoid finanical crisis. I believe that as people begining to become aware of the looming crisis, as it seems they are slowly becoming aware of, there will be a huge shift in peoples priorities. My wife and I begun to make huge change in our lifestyles. And are constantly learning about more and more ways to reduce our impact on the planet. I have decided to make changes in my career that are not based how much money I can make, bu

  6. greenbuilderinc Says:

    Chapter 6
    History repeting itself? It would seem that what we are experiencing right now is very similar to the past indurstrial economic cycles discussed in rhis chapeter. I think that these econonmic dips are symtoms of the inevitable collapse of our current economic system. Our government is throw all kinds of money at the finanical crisis. I say let the paper economy fail, invest that 700 billion dollars in to some tangile assets like our environment, renewable energy technology, substainable living education and family planning. Imagine if the government gave us all a piece of the baleout money with the condition that money be used for education or the downpayment on a hybrid or high mileage car, or some way that would benefit society or lessen your global foot print. Instead the government is considering giving us all a few hundred dollars morein the hopes that we will spend it on cheap eletronics at Walmart made in China.
    The strongest point in the chapter to me was how our economy of the last ten to fifteen years was based upon our “halluciated wealth”. This paper wealth allowed us to use our houses as cash cows. Money we use to buy cheap consumer goods from foreign countries.
    The author also makes the point that our investment in urban sprawl is ” part of the greastest misallocation of resources in world history. The housing subdivisions, Freeways, the malls,office parks and fast food huts, “represaent an infrastructure for daily living that will not be reusable”.
    I wonder as we become aware of the changes that the author says is coming if we will finally make drastic measure to easy into a post oil life. Or will we hold on to our gluttonous consumerism till the last barrel?

  7. chasla Says:

    1.)The author talked about how the U.S. exports food to other countries at such a cheap price that the locals can buy a product (corn in mexico for example)cheaper than what their neighboring farmers can sell their crop. I watched a movie called “Life and Debt”. I remember a local dairy which had been producing milk for many years was shut down because people were very poor and bought the imported dry milk that was less expensive.
    2.)He talks about how international corporations are putting local businesses out of business all over the globe, wallmart especially. This free market global economy is detrimental to people and our economy. We are focused on growth and that being all that matters. It is seen as prosperity. He says “We are not capable of conceiving another economic way.” This must change for our survival. When the resources we are so dependent on run out, a global, consumer economy wont be possible.
    3.)People are in denial. What will have to happen for people to accept the truth of our urgent situation?

  8. greenbuilderinc Says:

    Nature has already begun to chew. Chapter 5 is about the side effects of our indusrtrial economy. More intense storms in the south east, Wild fires in California, and west nile virus are already here. I remember the drought of the late 70’s. You couldn’t do anything with water, you couldn,t get a water meter to build a new house. The city had a no growth policy, because of the lack of water. That was thirty years ago, now there are alot more people living here in Santa Cruz county.If we have another drought like that we are going really feel it this time.
    Important points of the Chapter are that: The rise in global temptures is in sink with the rise in use of fossil fuels.
    The effect of climate change will intersect with the decline of fossil fuels.
    Human exsistance will have to be come more localized due to the lack of fuel for transportation.
    Drug companies will not be able to keep up with up coming new drug resistant germs and bugs.
    Did this chapter scare the hell out of you like it did me?
    The book is very depressing. I hope there is a happy chapter.

  9. greenbuilderinc Says:

    1.Chapter 1 the author describes how american are not in touch with the harsh realities of the decades to come. Because of cheap fossil fuel we have built ourselve a house of cards.and that this house of cards is going to collapse as we begin using up all the cheap readily availalbe energy sources. Kunstler believes that we will eventually learn to live differently, but we are going to face “tremendous personal hardships” and “we are entering into era of titanic international military strife over resources”.Chapter 2 kunstler writes about the how the discovery of cheap abundant fossil fuels has given us benifits of a modern society that just a hundred years ago we could have never imagined. And how quickly we have taken these benefits for granted.The author goes on to say that the lifestyle we have created for ourselves can be only be maintained with abundance cheap oil. and as we begin to run out of chaeap oil we will not be able to afford to maintain our life style. because of all the advancement in techonolgy, Americans are lulled in to a false sence of security that technology is going to solve all of our problems of the future.
    2. I believe that some of the main points of the reading is that the party is over for cheap oil and America will be experiencing a bad hang over for decades to come and possibly over the entire 21st century. Another point the author made was that it was important for us to remain hopeful even in the face of great stresses.
    3. I guess the guestion I have is what can we do as individuals to miniamize impact of changing time ahead on our children. Sell our cars, move in to tents?

  10. coonrash Says:

    1. This chapter has presented many interesting examples of other country’s working class becoming the lower class and impoverished because of American business practices. Agro-industrialists growing cheap wheat that is half the price of the local farmer’s wheat in Pusan or Colombo. They then must resort to working for a sweatshop, making five dollars or less a day putting together coffee makers that are being sold at wall-mart. I read about similar things in the book Confessions of an Economic Hitman. The author speaks of his experiences exploiting countries for their cheap labor.
    2. The most important points he made in this chapter were about the need to change the business practices in the united states. Huge corporations bullied the small time pharmacies and merchants out of their own towns.
    3. The most dominant question that comes to my mind is how come people in the position to do so much good with their money ended up setting us all up for failure.

  11. chasla Says:

    1.)This chapter relates to a tv documentary series i’ve seen called RX for survival. It’s about mutations and new strains of viruses and diseases and people working to eradicate them all over the world.
    2.)This chapter talks about the history of global warming and our present situation. With climate change our weather patterns will become more extreme disrupting agriculture and posing huge basic food production problems. Warmer and etreme weather, especially flooding and longer summers will become a breeding groung for new and mutated viruses and diseases.
    3.)This book makes me feel like humanity is screwed, we’re all going to die. Is there hope?

  12. coonrash Says:

    1. An idea presented in this section that I can relate to is the many corporations that were created for short-term benefits. All of these depend on a cheap source of oil in order to transport their unnecessary goods and services. They disregard the future and only focus on what’s here and now.

    2. A few important points made in this section are how our country was set up with a free-market globalism, so anyone from anywhere could set any type of business up if they have the money. So things like Wal-Mart and local amusement parks were set up that hurt local people but benefited the few rich and powerful running everything.

    3. The biggest question that comes to my mind is why. Why have so many people just accepted what’s going on around them and supported it.

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