…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.

To an observer from a distant planet, the earth hung in the night sky as it had for millions of years, unflickering and serene. The evolution or extinction of creatures upon its surface, even of those as remarkable as humans, were imperceptible on a cosmic scale. From a closer viewpoint, as from a satellite in high orbit, the fertile crescent of Ecotopia could be distinguished, green with trees, along the Pacific coast. Within its boundaries the human species had recognized that it too was a part of nature, which could not indefinitely be mocked.

If that idea spread sufficiently fast and far among the other nations of earth, the heedless rush of technological exploitation might be turned back and biological disaster averted. On the whole, destruction still reigned; surrounded by desolation, Ecotopia seemed a small, precarious island of hope. But its inhabitants had lit a beacon that might yet guide other travelers home.

Excerpted from Ecotopia Emerging, Banyan Tree, 1981.

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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