Pat Murphy’s Plan C is a rich treasury of practical suggestions for reducing fossil fuel consumption and fostering community cooperation—while Lyle Estill’s Small is Possible is an engrossing portrait of a small Southern town that is already taking these steps.
Frank gives an overview of the book:
by Frank Kaminski
Plan C: Community Survival Strategies for Peak Oil and Climate Change
By Pat Murphy
336 pp. New Society Publishers – July 2008. $19.95.
Plan C is a luminous book. Whereas so many other books on curtailing energy usage simply describe ways to cut consumption, Plan C goes way beyond mere description to take a truly penetrating look at how our individual choices make a difference.
Author Pat Murphy’s sharp analysis, which draws on hard numbers from the Department of Energy and other sources, allows us to truly quantify the impact of our everyday habits, and to realize that we’re capable of making far more of a difference than many believe.
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Small is Possible: Life in a Local Economy
By Lyle Estill
240 pp. New Society Publishers – May 2008. $17.95.
Lyle Estill, author of Small is Possible, shares Murphy’s faith in the power of community to help see us through difficult times to come. In the book’s introduction, he tells us that it’s partly a response to concerns raised by James Howard Kunstler in his book The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century. And over the remainder of the book, Estill proceeds to show us exactly why his small community of Chatham County, North Carolina, will be “just fine” during the Long Emergency that Kunstler foresees.
Small is Possible is a lively, fascinating portrait of this small, self-sufficient community in America’s heartland that Estill (a native of Canada) has come to call home. The book’s title was inspired by George McRobie’s selfsame-titled book from 1981, as well as E.F. Schumacher’s seminal Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered (originally published in 1973). It has been aptly marketed as a case for “Hometown Security” as an immeasurably more effective alternative to the Homeland Security modus operandi that now prevails.
I knew that I wanted to be a writer by the age of thirteen. While the other kids were playing outside, I was always holed up in my room working on my latest short story or attempt at a novel. I had other artistic pursuits as well—I did a lot of drawing, sculpture-making,...