Chelsea Green Publishing

Human Scale Revisited

Pages:408 pages
Book Art:Black-and-white illustrations throughout
Size: 6 x 9 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603587129
Pub. Date May 03, 2017

Human Scale Revisited

A New Look at the Classic Case for a Decentralist Future

Availability: In Stock

Paperback

Available Date:
May 03, 2017

$24.95

Big government, big business, big everything: Kirkpatrick Sale took giantism to task in his 1980 classic, Human Scale, and today takes a new look at how the crises that imperil modern America are the inevitable result of bigness grown out of control—and what can be done about it.

The result is a keenly updated, carefully argued case for bringing human endeavors back to scales we can comprehend and manage—whether in our built environments, our politics, our business endeavors, our energy plans, or our mobility.

Sale walks readers back through history to a time when buildings were scaled to the human figure (as was the Parthenon), democracies were scaled to the societies they served, and enterprise was scaled to communities. Against that backdrop, he dissects the bigger-is-better paradigm that has defined modern times and brought civilization to a crisis point. Says Sale, retreating from our calamity will take rebalancing our relationship to the environment; adopting more human-scale technologies; right-sizing our buildings, communities, and cities; and bringing our critical services—from energy, food, and garbage collection to transportation, health, and education—back to human scale as well.

Like Small is Beautiful by E. F. Schumacher, Human Scale has long been a classic of modern decentralist thought and communitarian values—a key tool in the kit of those trying to localize, create meaningful governance in bioregions, or rethink our reverence of and dependence on growth, financially and otherwise.

Rewritten to interpret the past few decades, Human Scale offers compelling new insights on how to turn away from the giantism that has caused escalating ecological distress and inequality, dysfunctional governments, and unending warfare and shines a light on many possible pathways that could allow us to scale down, survive, and thrive.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

Kirkus Reviews-

"The modern world is dysfunctional because, in part, it is scaled for the convenience of machines and despots and not us. Since publishing SDS (1973), his classic study of the radical student organization of yore, philosopher Sale (After Eden: The Evolution of Human Domination, 2006, etc.) has been much concerned with matters of local governance and autonomy, advocating the atomization of government to smaller and smaller levels of decision-making. In this book, a revised version of a polemic first published in 1980, he looks at all the ways that we work at the wrong scale. Big universities, for instance, rank low on the roster of scholarly achievement. … [C]ities that grow beyond 100,000 tend to break down. As for bureaucracy? Sale coins a term, ‘prytaneogenesis,' to cover maladies wrought by government, which by rights should be solving problems rather than creating them. Because it is so broad, the author's argument is often diffuse; Sale is at his best when, in good syndicalist spirit, he pushes for responsibilities as well as rights, as when he reminds readers that no government ever willingly gave up rights, which instead were won in rebellion and struggle, whether of colonies, unions, or individual heroes. By the same token, Sale is too credulous of altruism as opposed to government interventions: it is arguable that private organizations do better at blood drives than social service agencies, though the debate becomes moot when we consider that the Red Cross, a hybrid of the public and private, does the brunt of that hard work. A provocative book with many points to ponder the next time you're caught in traffic or on hold with the insurance claims department."

“Like Schumacher’s Small Is Beautiful but packed with countless examples and careful theory on how to create a truly democratic community from the bottom up, Sale’s charming update of his classic Human Scale is the best single book on how to build a localist world. A must read!”—Gar Alperovitz, author of What Then Must We Do?; cofounder, The Democracy Collaborative

Human Scale was once ahead of its time, but this updated edition is just in time. While the mainstream assumes that the worldwide grassroots repudiation of globalization will mean war, racism, and poverty, Kirkpatrick Sale’s classic book shows how true localization can lay the foundation for peace, harmony, and prosperity. This is indispensable reading for anyone who cares about replacing Big Brother with small-scale democracy.”—Michael H. Shuman, author of The Local Economy Solution

“Is it possible to improve a classic? Kirkpatrick Sale has done so with this erudite, provocative, and, ultimately, hopeful exploration of human-scale alternatives to soul-deadening Bigness in agriculture, architecture, business, education, government. . . . You name it, Sale knows it.”—Bill Kauffman, author of Bye-Bye, Miss American Empire and Dispatches from the Muckdog Gazette

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kirkpatrick Sale

Kirkpatrick Sale is a prolific scholar and author of more than a dozen books—including Human ScaleRebels Against the Future, and After Eden: The Evolution of Human Domination. He has been described as the “leader of the Neo-Luddites,” is one of the pioneers of the bioregional movement, and throughout his career has been a regular contributor to The Nation, The New York Times Magazine, CounterPunch, Lew Rockwell, The New York Review of Books, and The Utne Reader, which named him one of 100 living visionaries. Sale is currently the director of the political think tank the Middlebury Institute for the study of separatism, secession, and self-determination.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Up Tunket Road

Up Tunket Road

By Philip Ackerman-Leist

Ever since Thoreau's Walden, the image of the American homesteader has been of someone getting away from civilization, of forging an independent life in the country. Yet if this were ever true, what is the nature and reality of homesteading in the media-saturated, hyper-connected 21st century?

For seven years Philip Ackerman-Leist and his wife, Erin, lived without electricity or running water in an old cabin in the beautiful but remote hills of western New England. Slowly forging their own farm and homestead, they took inspiration from their experiences among the mountain farmers of the Tirolean Alps and were guided by their Vermont neighbors, who taught them about what it truly means to live sustainably in the postmodern homestead--not only to survive, but to thrive in a fragmented landscape and a fractured economy.

Up Tunket Road is the inspiring true story of a young couple who embraced the joys of simple living while also acknowledging its frustrations and complexities. Ackerman-Leist writes with humor about the inevitable foibles of setting up life off the grid--from hauling frozen laundry uphill to getting locked in the henhouse by their ox. But he also weaves an instructive narrative that contemplates the future of simple living. His is not a how-to guide, but something much richer and more important--a tale of discovery that will resonate with readers who yearn for a better, more meaningful life, whether they live in the city, country, or somewhere in between.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Up Tunket Road

Philip Ackerman-Leist, Erin Ackerman-Leist

Paperback $17.95

Edible Forest Gardens, Volume II

Edible Forest Gardens, Volume II

By Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier

Edible Forest Gardens is a groundbreaking two-volume work that spells out and explores the key concepts of forest ecology and applies them to the needs of natural gardeners in temperate climates. Volume I lays out the vision of the forest garden and explains the basic ecological principles that make it work. In Volume II, Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier move on to practical considerations: concrete ways to design, establish, and maintain your own forest garden. Along the way they present case studies and examples, as well as tables, illustrations, and a uniquely valuable "plant matrix" that lists hundreds of the best edible and useful species.

Taken together, the two volumes of Edible Forest Gardens offer an advanced course in ecological gardening--one that will forever change the way you look at plants and your environment.

Available in: Hardcover

Read More

Edible Forest Gardens, Volume II

Dave Jacke, Eric Toensmeier

Hardcover $75.00

Gaviotas

Gaviotas

By Alan Weisman

Los Llanos—the rain-leached, eastern savannas of war-ravaged Colombia—are among the most brutal environments on Earth and an unlikely setting for one of the most hopeful environmental stories ever told. Here, in the late 1960s, a young Colombian development worker named Paolo Lugari wondered if the nearly uninhabited, infertile llanos could be made livable for his country’s growing population. He had no idea that nearly four decades later, his experiment would be one of the world’s most celebrated examples of sustainable living: a permanent village called Gaviotas.

In the absence of infrastructure, the first Gaviotans invented wind turbines to convert mild breezes into energy, hand pumps capable of tapping deep sources of water, and solar collectors efficient enough to heat and even sterilize drinking water under perennially cloudy llano skies. Over time, the Gaviotans’ experimentation has even restored an ecosystem: in the shelter of two million Caribbean pines planted as a source of renewable commercial resin, a primordial rain forest that once covered the llanos is unexpectedly reestablishing itself.

Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez has called Paolo Lugari “Inventor of the World.” Lugari himself has said that Gaviotas is not a utopia: “Utopia literally means ‘no place.’ We call Gaviotas a topia, because it’s real.”

Relive their story with this special 10th-anniversary edition of Gaviotas, complete with a new afterword by the author describing how Gaviotas has survived and progressed over the past decade.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Gaviotas

Alan Weisman

Paperback $24.95

Slow Democracy

Slow Democracy

By Susan Clark and Woden Teachout

Reconnecting with the sources of decisions that affect us, and with the processes of democracy itself, is at the heart of 21st-century sustainable communities.

Slow Democracy chronicles the ways in which ordinary people have mobilized to find local solutions to local problems. It invites us to bring the advantages of "slow" to our community decision making. Just as slow food encourages chefs and eaters to become more intimately involved with the production of local food, slow democracy encourages us to govern ourselves locally with processes that are inclusive, deliberative, and citizen powered.

Susan Clark and Woden Teachout outline the qualities of real, local decision making and show us the range of ways that communities are breathing new life into participatory democracy around the country. We meet residents who seize back control of their municipal water systems from global corporations, parents who find unique solutions to seemingly divisive school-redistricting issues, and a host of other citizens across the nation who have designed local decision-making systems to solve the problems unique to their area in ways that work best for their communities.

Though rooted in the direct participation that defined our nation's early days, slow democracy is not a romantic vision for reigniting the ways of old. Rather, the strategies outlined here are uniquely suited to 21st-century technologies and culture.If our future holds an increased focus on local food, local energy, and local economy, then surely we will need to improve our skills at local governance as well.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Slow Democracy

Susan Clark, Woden Teachout

Paperback $24.95