Depletion and Abundance: Life on the New Home Front (Paperback)
  • Depletion and Abundance: Life on the New Home Front (Paperback)

Depletion and Abundance: Life on the New Home Front (Paperback)

Paperback 288 Pages / Published: 18/09/2008
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Why are so few peak oil authors women? There's been much debate about this, and no one has yet arrived at a definitive answer. But whatever the reason, Sharon Astyk has established herself as a true rarity within the peak oil community by virtue of being a woman who has chosen to write about peak oil. The perspective she offers is thus both uncommon and vital. In Depletion and Abundance, she shows how rewarding life on her New Home Front could be, immeasureably improving our health, nutrition, sense of community and overall well-being. Chief among its benefits would be all the extra time that we'd have. She points out that people in medieval times worked far fewer hours than Americans do today, and that most people in modern-day peasant societies also work less hard than we do. This, along with Astyk's unique perspective as a woman, a mother and a peak oil activist, makes Depleiton and Abundance well worth a read. The ring of authenticity to her writing will hook you - while its relaxed style, ineffable humor, personal anecdotes and comforting touch will soothe your melancholy peaknik soul like a warm hand on the shoulder. Reviewed by Frank Kaminski, Energy Bulletin Sharon's introduction is pricelss in its succinct, dead-on analysis of collapse, and is reason enough to buy and send this book to everyone you know who is partially or completely clueless about where we're headed. "When I realized that everything was going to change, I was at first afraid. Because I thought, if my government or public policy or other choices weren't going to fix everything, what could I possibly do? What hope was there, if I had to take care of myself, if my community had to take care of itself? But when I began looking for solutions that could be applied on the level of ordinary human lives, that involved changes in perspectives and pulling together, the reclamation of abandoned ideas and the restoration of strong communitites, I began to feel hopeful, even excited. Because I realized that when large institutions cease to be powerful, sometimes that means that people start being powerful again." Depletion and Abundance is not a feel-good book, but it is intensely human, compassionate, supportive, pracitcal, alarming, enlivening, and astonishingly accurate. Reviewed by Carolyn Baker, OK, quick check: everyone who is concerned about the economic crisis turning into a depression and causing food and fuel prices to rise and pockets to empty - whether for yourself, your parents, your children, your neighbors, your friends, or anyone - raise your hand. That covers just about everyone, doesn't it? Almost every conversation I've had recently with different people lately has touched on the economy and people's fears about what this situation means. Astyk knows she's covering a lot of territory to bring many people up to speed on the various causes behind our current crisis. Her research and thoughtful insight in discussing peak oil, climate change, and the economy are on target too.We may be headed into difficult times - and heaven knows, if you read only Astyk's first chapter, you might find yourself too depressed to go on --but ultimately we still retain the ability to choose a certain aount of independence. We can invest our time and our work in the sustenance of our selves, our families, and our communities, and we can begin to build a more sustainable economy. Sharon Astyk's book gives us the hope and the inspiration needed to take that step.Reviewed by Jennifer M, The Ethicurean Climate change, peak oil, and economic instability aren't just future social problems-they jeopardize our homes and families right now. Our once-abundant food supply is being threatened by toxic chemical agriculture, rising food prices, and crop shortages brought on by climate change. Funding for education and health care is strained to the limit, and safe and affordable housing is disappearing. Depletion and Abundance explains how we are living beyond our means with or without a peak oil/climate change crisis, and that, either way, we must learn to place our families and local communities at the center of our thinking once again. The author presents strategies to create stronger homes, better health, and a richer family life and to: * live comfortably with an uncertain energy supply * prepare children for a hotter, lower energy, less secure world * survive and thrive in an economy in crisis * maintain a kitchen garden to supply basic food needs Most importantly, readers will discover that depletion can lead to abundance, and the anxiety of these uncertain times can be turned into a gift of hope and action. An unusual family perspective on the topic, this book will appeal to all those interested in securing a future for their children and grandchildren. Sharon Astyk is a former academic who farms in upstate New York with her husband and four children. She also raises livestock, grows vegetables, and writes about food and peak oil. (Check out her

Publisher: New Society Publishers
ISBN: 9780865716148
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 454 g
Dimensions: 229 x 153 x 20 mm


"Depletion and Abundance offers a vivid portrayal of where resource and energy scarcity is taking us, and with calm, incisive logic disassembles the too-easy answers and the panicked proposals offered on all sides of the energy debate. What's more, the author gives us a path having both heart and reason toward a sustainable and appealing future."
-- Toby Hemenway, author of Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture

This thoughtful, passionate book breaks away from the conventional wisdom of doomsayers and cornucopians alike to offer a deeply practical vision of survival through family, community, and personal responsibility in the age of peak oil. Highly recommended.
-- John Michael Greer, author of The Long Descent and The Archdruid Report

You come out of an Inconvenient Truth and you're lost. You can hope that technology will figure it out. Or, like Sharon Astyk, you can take the situation into your own hands. You can lead your family away from dependence on fossil fuels and stuff and towards a joyful vision of simplicity, self-reliance, planetary stewardship and strong local community. If that is your bent, this is your handbook.
-- Colin Beavan, author and blogger at

A smart book that will get you thinking about what the world might look like if it changed -- which seems altogether likely. Sharon Astyk has all kinds of suggestions for individuals and families, but never forgets that real resilience lies in working communities.
-- Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy

Sharon Astyk has given us an exquisite roadmap describing where we are now, where we are likely to find ourselves in the next few years, and how to prepare on myriad levels for the journey. This book is both brilliant and beautiful, reverberating with her insight, wisdom, and compassion. At the same time that she pours a tall glass of hard reality for the reader, she sits beside us with her hand on our shoulders while we drink it. I will enthusiastically use this book in every college class I teach.
-- Carolyn Baker, Ph.D., author of U.S. History Uncensored: What Your High School Textbook Didn't Tell You, and blogger, Speaking Truth To Power,

This is a wonderful book about a terrible subject; situation -- we're screwed. If it doesn't kill us, the coming depression could be the best thing to happen to Americans in a long time. A marvelously funny, compelling, passionate and practical book about how to survive the hard times ahead, written by a farmer and a mother of four for anyone who loves their family. More common sense than anyone deserves to find between the covers of a book. Buying it would be a good use of your last $25.
-- Peter Bane, publisher of Permaculture Activist,

Many of us can see the ruins of our society for what they are, and understand that we have to make some other arrangements if we are to survive. Fewer of us seem able to make the switch to serving best those who matter to us most: the people in our lives. Sharon lifts the curse of the lost and lonely individual by pointing us toward family and community and giving us all work to do.
-- Dmitry Orlov, author of Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Experience and American Prospects

Without Sharon Astyk's courage and style, the converging crises that headline the daily news would indeed seem ominous. But Sharon has ventured off into our worst dystopian nightmare and experienced it, personally, and then come back to report to the rest of us, "Hey, it isn't all that bad!" She has seeded abundance from scarcity and happiness from despair, and is willing to share that secret.
-- Albert Bates, author of Climate in Crisis: The Greenhouse Effect and What You Can Do and The Post-Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook

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