Bill McKibben’s Deep Economy (Times Books/Henry Holt) offers a realistic, if challenging, scenario for a hopeful future: ” I believe that the more we nurture the essential humanity of our economy, the more we will recapture our own.”
Bill McKibben on Deep Economy:
“I’ve set out to challenge the prevailing view of our economy. For the first time in human history, ‘more’ is no longer synonymous with ‘better’—indeed, for many of us, they have become almost opposites. I want us to think in new ways about the things we buy, the food we eat, the energy we use, and the money that pays for it all. Our purchases need not be at odds with the things we truly value.”
The time has come to move beyond ‘growth’ as the paramount economic ideal and begin pursuing prosperity in a more local direction, with cities, suburbs, and regions producing more of their own food, generating more of their own energy, and even creating more of their own culture and entertainment. This concept is already blossoming around the world with striking results, from the burgeoning economies of India and China to the more mature societies of Europe and New England. For those who worry about environmental threats, there are solutions to work through the worst of those problems; for those who wonder if there isn’t something more to life than buying, I encourage you to consider your life as an individual and as a member of a larger community.
Bill McKibben is an American educator and environmentalist and the author of numerous books, including The End of Nature, widely considered the first book about global warming for a general audience. In January of 2007, he founded stepitup07.org to demand that Congress enact curbs on carbon emissions that would cut global warming pollution by 80% by 2050. With 6 college students, he organized 1400 demonstrations across all 50 states on April 14, 2007. Step It Up 2007 has been described as the largest day of protest about climate change in our nation’s history.
McKibben grew up in Lexington, MA and was president of the Harvard Crimson newspaper while in college. After graduating from Harvard, he joined the staff of The New Yorker, and wrote much of the “Talk of the Town” column from 1982 to early 1987.
His books frequently address climate change, alternative energy, and the risks associated with human genetic engineering. He is active in the Methodist Church, and his writings sometimes have a spiritual bent. His titles include Hundred Dollar Holiday, Maybe One, The Age of Missing Information, and Hope, Human and Wild. He is a frequent contributor to periodicals, including Outside, Orion, Grist, The New York Times, Harper’s, and The Atlantic Monthly.
Bill McKibben has been awarded Guggenheim and Lyndhurst Fellowships, and won the Lannan Prize for nonfiction in 2000. He is Scholar in Residence in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College in Vermont.
McKibben was interviewed at Kentucky Author Forum by Wendell Berry, whose own writing career spans nearly fifty years. Berry was born in Henry County, Kentucky, and continues to farm the land along the Kentucky River that his family has worked for two centuries.
Wendell Berry has published 25 books of poems, 16 volumes of essays, and 11 novels and short story collections. In his 1990 review of Berry’s essays in The New York Review of Books, Bill McKibben called Wendell Berry “a prophet of responsibility” and “an essayist of the real world”, noting Berry’s visionary insight in critiquing modern American agricultural methods which deplet the environment and diminish local communities.
Bill McKibben dedicated Deep Economy; The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future to Wendell Berry.