suburbia

Podcast

Yann Arthus/National Geographic Society

James Howard Kunstler: The World's Greatest Misallocation Of Resources

And why we appear poised to repeat it
Sunday, January 22, 2017, 2:11 PM

James Howard Kunstler returns to the podcast this week, observing that despite the baton being handed to a new American president, the massive predicaments we face as a society remain the same. And it seems the incoming administration is just as in denial of them as the old.

Kunstler adds fresh critique to his now decades-old warning that we are sleepwalking our way deep into the Long Emergency. The longer we delude ourselves and waste our energies in pursuit of reviving the failed "endless growth" model, the farther our journey back to a sustainable way of living will be when our current system collapses. » Read more

Blog

(Un)Paving Our Way To Nirvana

Making better choices in the future
Monday, November 25, 2013, 8:10 PM

You can’t overstate the baleful effects for Americans of living in the tortured landscapes and townscapes we created for ourselves in the past century. This fiasco of cartoon suburbia, overgrown metroplexes, trashed small cities and abandoned small towns, and the gruesome connective tissue of roadways, commercial smarm, and free parking is the toxic medium of everyday life in this country. Its corrosive omnipresence induces a general failure of conscious awareness that it works implacably at every moment to diminish our lives. » Read more

Insider

The Future of Living

The rise of 'vernacular artistry'
Tuesday, September 3, 2013, 11:35 AM

Executive Summary

  • Ready or not, the forces underlying the Long Emergency will force a return to the 'real' (vs the virtual)
  • What regions and town/city models will fare best in this future?
  • The age of the car is over: how will we transport goods and ourselves?
  • Which skills will be in greatest demand?
  • How to prepare ourselves emotionally for becoming less techno-dependent

If you have not yet read Part I: Returning to the 'Real'  available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

A Return To the 'Real'

John Maynard Keynes famously remarked, “In the long run we are all dead.” Which leaves the short to intermediate run, which is a lot. Start with the proposition that we’ll be compelled to reconnect our lives to biophysical reality, that is, nature. The techno-industrial adventure was about the exhilaration of overcoming natural limits — and the grandiosity in thinking that we could de-link permanently and put something synthetic and supposedly just-as-good in nature’s place. In the process, we de-natured ourselves and unplugged from the satisfactions found in being part of something wondrous and whole and larger than ourselves. We don’t have to reinvent the sacred. It has been there all along. We just ignored and disregarded it for about a century, and now we have to rebuild the social and logistical infrastructure for it.  That job will be easier than keeping the interstate highway system in repair.

Expect to be living a far less mediated existence, being more directly in touch with the patterns afforded by nature, the sun and moon, the seasons, the temperature, the sensations, the tastes and textures, the pains and pleasures. For the generation used to sensing absolutely everything through the tiny portal of a five-inch smart phone screen, this may come as a startling psychological shock, greater than the psychedelic drugs of the hippie days were to the Boomers. By the way, nobody should expect that the national electric grid will survive indefinitely, or that every locality will be able to generate its own electricity without the long commercial chains of mining, advanced metallurgy, and the manufacture of modular machinery.

Where to Live?

One of the first questions for people to answer for themselves, especially in a period of demographic turmoil, is what place do I feel okay about being in and how do I set my roots in it? ... » Read more

Blog

Why Our Current Way of Living Has No Future

Rampant malinvestment is creating scarcity of capital, energ
Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 2:25 PM

All of the sordid and spellbinding rackets working their hoodoo on the financial scene have obscured a whole other dimension of the fiasco that America finds itself in, namely the way we have arranged the logistics of everyday life on our landscape – the tragedy of Suburbia.

I call it a tragedy because it represents a sequence of extremely unfortunate choices made by our society over several generations. History will not forgive the excuses we make for ourselves, nor will it shed a tear for the tribulations we will induce for ourselves by living this way. History may, however, draw attention to our remarkable lack of a sense of consequence in transforming this lovely, beckoning New World continent into a wilderness of free parking. In any case, we’re stuck with what we’ve done, and the question naturally arises: What will we do now? » Read more

Podcast

James Howard Kunstler: The Dangers of the Age of Delusion

We're acting as if risks have no consequences
Saturday, February 16, 2013, 1:53 PM

It’s characteristic of the time that we’re living in that there simply is no sense of consequence. And that’s exactly what you get when you have a Federal Reserve that’s out of control and a public that is filled with technological narcissistic visions of Santa Claus delivering rescue remedies on demand. And so there’s no general sense that when you do things, bad things can happen

James Howard Kunstler is concerned. Sure, he still has the same issues with the West's highly energy-consuming suburban lifestyle that he famously brought to light in his books, The Long Emergency, the World Made by Hand series, and Too Much Magic. But beyond our decaying fundamentals, he's distressed by society's unwillingness to be honest with itself about the issue's it's facing. » Read more