…Ecotopia Emerging…

By Ernest Callenbach

This piece was originally published in Home! A Bioregional Reader, edited by Van Andruss, Christopher Plant, Judith Plant, and Eleanor Wright, New Society Publishers, copyright 1990.

The Survivalists, recognizing that traditional American politics tended to work from the top down, expended a great deal of effort in encouraging popular participation in their new movement. They had worked out a federation network structure that fed people’s ideas, needs and perspectives upward to the party’s central committee. Like mushroom spores so light they can float through the air for miles, Survivalist ideas had penetrated every town and city and neighborhood in the Northwest. In some places party chapters were set up to cover a whole small town. In larger communities there are a number of neighborhood organizations. Sometimes people who had started working together for other purposes gradually developed a political identity and began to call themselves Survivalists. In other cases new groups formed, brought together by the usual techniques of meetings, pamphlets, posters, leaflets. But always, as Vera Allwen said in one of her broadcasts, the emphasis was on the direct and personal….

Ernest Callenbach (1929-2012) was a writer and editor. He worked for the University of California Press from 1955 to 1991. His interest in environmentalism grew out of his work frequently editing their Natural History Guides. He is the author of several books on ecology and sustainability, most notably 1975’s Ecotopia, which presented the belief that technology could be successfully integrated with humanity and the environment and anticipated some later developments in the real world.

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