Fascinating look at a country that's goals include reaching "steady-state" through environmentally friendly means. Printed 30 years ago, this story revolves around the secession of Washington, Oregon, and northern California from the United States and what the resulting Ecotopia is like after twenty years of existence. In this country, automobiles, busses, air travel, and polluting trains are banned - people walk or ride free bikes and live in "families" made up of like-minded others who are not necessarily blood relations. Sexual liasons are casual and frequent changes of partners accepted. (No discussion of sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS are mentioned). Anything that cannot decompose, like synthetic clothing materials and house paints, are banned. The work week is only twenty hours. Trees are revered and planted everywhere, even in what used to be downtown parking lots. Balanced against that is exciting new developments, like picture phones, natural fiber clothing that repels water or warms the body in winter, and plastics that are surdy but degrade within weeks. All is not wonderful though, there is a dark side to extreme environmentalism in the form of declining birth rates and ritual war games. Some things seem archaic for a book supposedly set in the future, like the assumption that its the rare American woman who works outside the home compared to Ecotopian females who factor largely in positions of authority. Computers and televisions figure prominently in this land, but apparently the author did not realize then, like we do now, that they too are a troubling source of pollution. This book is in the same vein as Aldus Huxley's "Brave New World and George Orwell's "1984."
This book is about what happens after the US east of the Rockies breaks with the rest of the union in order to build a more harmonies civilization. It was written in 1975, so parts are very dated but it is still a fun, timely and thought provoking read.
A riveting look at a women controlled future utopia built in the Pacific northwest on an egalitarian model of from each according to his/her abilities to each according to his/her needs. Very enjoyable read from a very visionary writer.
This book is excellent! A must read for all environmentalists.
"An environmental classic...Remarkably presient." -TIME
Good story and interesting commentary on what life could be like in a "stable state" ecosystem. A great argument for getting a bit closer to Mother Earth.
Book Description: "Ecotopia was founded when northern California, Oregon, and Washington seceded from the Union to create a "stable-state" ecosystem: the perfect balance between human beings and the environment. Now, twenty years later, the isolated, mysterious Ecotopia welcomes its first officially sanctioned American visitor: New York Times-Post reporter Will Weston.
Like a modern Gulliver, the skeptical Weston is by turns impressed, horrified, and overwhelmed by Ecotopia's strange practices: employee ownership of farms and businesses, the twenty-hour work week, the fanatical elimination of pollution, "mini-cities" that defeat overcrowding, devotion to trees bordering on worship, a woman-dominated government, and bloody, ritual war games. Bombarded by innovative, unsettling ideas, set afire by a relationship with a sexually forthright Ecotopian woman, Weston's conflict of values intensifies-and leads to a startling climax.
---- It was interesting to read Callenbach's ideas of what a Utopian society might be like, although I'm not sure putting them forth in a novel format was the best idea. Plot and characterization suffered as a result. There is a lot that's very good about the book and I'd love to live in "Ecotopia" but it was missing something as well.
Wonderful, wonderful book! I thoroughly enjoyed the ideas of this utopian world.
"Amazingly prescient for an old book." I got this for my husband to read...he usually only reads the news...when he asked for it. He read it all the way through, found it very interesting.