Depletion and Abundance: Life on the New Home Front (Paperback)
Life on the New Home Front
New Society Publishers, 9780865716148, 273pp.
Publication Date: September 1, 2008
Why are so few peak oil authors women? There's been much debate about this, and no one has yet arrived at a definitive answer. But whatever the reason, Sharon Astyk has established herself as a true rarity within the peak oil community by virtue of being a woman who has chosen to write about peak oil. The perspective she offers is thus both uncommon and vital.
In Depletion and Abundance, she shows how rewarding life on her New Home Front could be, immeasureably improving our health, nutrition, sense of community and overall well-being. Chief among its benefits would be all the extra time that we'd have. She points out that people in medieval times worked far fewer hours than Americans do today, and that most people in modern-day peasant societies also work less hard than we do.
This, along with Astyk's unique perspective as a woman, a mother and a peak oil activist, makes Depleiton and Abundance well worth a read. The ring of authenticity to her writing will hook you - while its relaxed style, ineffable humor, personal anecdotes and comforting touch will soothe your melancholy peaknik soul like a warm hand on the shoulder.
Reviewed by Frank Kaminski, Energy Bulletin
Sharon's introduction is pricelss in its succinct, dead-on analysis of collapse, and is reason enough to buy and send this book to everyone you know who is partially or completely clueless about where we're headed. "When I realized that everything was going to change, I was at first afraid. Because I thought, if my government or public policy or other choices weren't going to fix everything, what could I possibly do? What hope was there, if I had to take care of myself, if my community had to take care of itself?
But when I began looking for solutions that could be applied on the level of ordinary human lives, that involved changes in perspectives and pulling together, the reclamation of abandoned ideas and the restoration of strong communitites, I began to feel hopeful, even excited. Because I realized that when large institutions cease to be powerful, sometimes that means that people start being powerful again."
Depletion and Abundance is not a feel-good book, but it is intensely human, compassionate, supportive, pracitcal, alarming, enlivening, and astonishingly accurate.
Reviewed by Carolyn Baker, Carolynbaker.net
OK, quick check: everyone who is concerned about the economic crisis turning into a depression and causing food and fuel prices to rise and pockets to empty - whether for yourself, your parents, your children, your neighbors, your friends, or anyone - raise your hand. That covers just about everyone, doesn't it? Almost every conversation I've had recently with different people lately has touched on the economy and people's fears about what this situation means. Astyk knows she's covering a lot of territory to bring many people up to speed on the various causes behind our current crisis. Her research and thoughtful insight in discussing peak oil, climate change, and the economy are on target too.We may be headed into difficult times - and heaven knows, if you read only Astyk's first chapter, you might find yourself too depressed to go on --but ultimately we still retain the ability to choose a certain aount of independence. We can invest our time and our work in the sustenance of our selves, our families, and our communities, and we can begin to build a more sustainable economy. Sharon Astyk's book gives us the hope and the inspiration needed to take that step.Reviewed by Jennifer M, The Ethicurean
Climate change, peak oil, and economic instability aren't just future social problems--they jeopardize our homes and families right now. Our once-abundant food supply is being threatened by toxic chemical agriculture, rising food prices, and crop shortages brought on by climate change. Funding for education and health care is strained to the limit, and safe and affordable housing is disappearing.
Depletion and Abundance explains how we are living beyond our means with or without a peak oil/climate change crisis, and that, either way, we must learn to place our families and local communities at the center of our thinking once again. The author presents strategies to create stronger homes, better health, and a richer family life and to:
- live comfortably with an uncertain energy supply
- prepare children for a hotter, lower energy, less secure world
- survive and thrive in an economy in crisis
- maintain a kitchen garden to supply basic food needs
Most importantly, readers will discover that depletion can lead to abundance, and the anxiety of these uncertain times can be turned into a gift of hope and action.
An unusual family perspective on the topic, this book will appeal to all those interested in securing a future for their children and grandchildren.
Sharon Astyk is a former academic who farms in upstate New York with her husband and four children. She also raises livestock, grows vegetables, and writes about food and peak oil. (Check out her blog--www.sharonastyk.com.)