The title of a novel by Ernest Callenbach gave name to my web address space. So, at this page I give a brief outline of that novel and its influence to me and others. A bibliography of the author shows his continuing effort in turning his visions into real life.
As taken from the first pages of the book, ecotopia roots into Greek language and denotes a place, where you feel at home. Besides this, there's also the relation to ecology and economy. Thus, the books underlying sense covers network relations, between people due to social or economic bounds and between people and their environment in general.
from the Greek oikos (houshold or home)
from the Greek topos (place)
Ernest Callenbach, Ecotopia
Ecotopia is the title of a novel by the author Ernest Callenbach, released in mid seventies, when ecological topics started to come into our views. It describes the North America, about two decades further from the time he wrote the book, separated into two parts. These parts developed totally isolated from each other and after some decades a reporter was sent from the eastern part to the western part to see, what's up with these people after all that time of separation. His reports to the newspaper and the private notebooks make up Callenbach's book. They give you a picture of what is and how it came to the situation.
Many topics are covered, politics, personal and social live, economy, environmental situation. It is very detailed on these descriptions and thus a valuable source for discussions. It points out, how people could feel in a world, where many things are changed (and by comparing to the eastern part: how people often feel when nothing changes). So it's centerd on the persons and their relations, and the technical stuff makes up the scenery. It's not a "that's the best way"-book, but a base to make up your mind, "hm, what could be better than the current situation". Just relax and have a look, it's fun to read it. And that's what books are intended for :-).
You might follow up to reviews by Allyson Zipp or James Nicoll. Gerhard Fischlein contributes with an extensive comment. You can find a comparison with an even older utopia, published in 1890 by William Morris.
There's also a short excerpt from the original book available.
If you want to read Ernest Callenbach in his own words check out this interview script by Manfred Pütz, published 1996 in American Studies, Amst 41.3, at that time through Wilhelm Fink Verlag, Munich / Germany by DGfA.
Ecotopia - The Notebooks and Reports of William Weston, Banyan Tree Books, Berkeley, California 1975; there's a reprint available by Bantam Books, and in German speaking countries (A, CH, D) there's an (English) edition available by Reclam, Stuttgart 1996 (with selected German vocabulary, an additional timetable about the life and work of Ernest Callenbach, a post scriptum about Ecotopia and the tradition of utopias and a book list for further reading).
German edition: Ökotopia, Notizen und Reportagen von William Weston aus dem Jahre 1999, Rotbuch Verlag, Berlin 1975 and 1990
Ecotopia Emerging, Banyan Tree Books, Berkeley, California 1981
German edition: Ein Weg nach Ökotopia, Ökotopia Verlag, Berlin 1983
German edition: Billig leben mit Stil, Rotbuch Verlag, Hamburg 1995
You can find bibliographic details at isbn.nu.
Btw: if you should see the A Citizen Legislature book in some book store or flea market, I would like to get a copy :-). I lent my print out away and never saw it again :-(.
Practical impacts can be seen in the Breitenbush Hot Springs Retreat and Conference Center, New Civilization Network and Ökostadt. Thomas Harvey gives an outline of the region described in Ecotopia: The Changing Face of the Pacific Northwest, published in Journal of the West July 1998, Vol. 37. No. 3, reprinted in the book Perspectives: Geography, editors Alan A. Lew and Thomas W. Paradis, Coursewise Publishing, Inc., Boulder, CO. 1999.