The Long Emergency by James Howard Kunslter

Subtitle: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century

Published: 2005 with an updated afterword in 2009

Genre: nonfiction science

Length: 339 pages

Interest: I’m using this as one of the books in the Environmental Science class I’m teaching this semester. I’ve used it in the past, but can’t remember all the details of the book since it’s been so long since I read it originally. So, time to reread the book.

Summary: see my original review

Final thoughts: Once again, I am struck by the author’s pessimism on where the world is heading. He is convinced the world is entering the downward slide of peak oil (in other words, we will no longer be able to get more oil out of the ground than we have in the past, even if demand goes up). We’ve had some technology changes since the book was written – natural gas extraction has increased because of fracking, and oil extraction has increased because of shale oil extraction methods. The newer technology is much more energy intensive, though, so the energy return over energy invested (a concept Kunstler favors) is getting closer and closer to one.

It’s a great book for the class because he addresses so many of environmental issues associated with fossil fuels, which so many issues go back to. It gives the students a chance to read about the issues without having to use a boring textbook. I don’t use all the chapters. A couple go into politics and economics, which I don’t really have time to cover in my class. This time reading the book, I put a one-sentence summary of each page at the bottom of the page. My goal is that the next time I use the book in class, I don’t have to reread the whole thing, just my summaries.

Reading challenges fulfilled: #69 in my Maybe 100 This Year Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or subtitle to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!


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