If you’re like us, there are a few trusted guides you’ve looked to for help making sense of a world turned suddenly upside down. One of our guides has been James Howard Kunstler.
The author of essential books like The Long Emergency, The Geography of Nowhere, and the World Made By Hand novels, Kunstler has for years been eerily prescient in his ability to imagine and interpret the future. Strong Towns president Chuck Marohn described The Long Emergency as “the most coherent narrative explanation I’ve read of the converging crises our society is living through, particularly when it comes to the triple threats of energy, economy and environment.” It's one of 15 books on the Strong Towns Essential Reading List, and somehow feels even more relevant today than when it was first published in 2005.
Kunstler’s new book — Living in the Long Emergency: Global Crisis, the Failure of the Futurists, and the Early Adapters Who Are Showing Us the Way Forward — is once again spookily timed. We received requests from listeners that we interview him about the new book and the COVID-19 crisis...the very thing we were eager to do. So we’re especially happy to welcome Jim Kunstler back in this week’s episode of the Strong Towns podcast.
In this fascinating and wide-ranging discussion, Chuck and Jim look at the impact of the crisis on the automotive and airline industries, our food systems, and more. They discuss the social upheaval being caused by COVID-19, including the understandable anger from people who see the federal government bailing out Wall Street while their own jobs disappear. They talk too about the problems not only with the argument that COVID-19 will launch a suburban renaissance — “All the signs are that suburbia is not only going to fail, but it’s going to fail pretty quickly and pretty harshly” — but also with some urbanists’ reflexive defense of cities.
But this conversation is not just doom-and-gloom, Chuck and Jim also discuss how Living in the Long Emergency provides a ray of hope in dark days. Just in time, the book helps us understand what’s going on....and also how to create a healthy, vibrant, and enjoyable future.
Additional Show Notes
Stacy Mitchell: Fighting for Small Businesses and Strong Local Economies
A Time for Local Action
Blake Pagenkopf: Rebooting Our Political Operating System
Denise Hearn: The Myth of Capitalism
Ben Hunt: We're Not Going to Fix This from the Top Down
Bonus Episode: The Bottom-Up Revolution
What Are We Waiting For?
Help Shape the Future of the Strong Towns Podcasts
KAXE's Dig Deep on George Floyd, Coronavirus, and More
A Good Life in a Prosperous Place
Smart Cities: "Are we creating solutions looking for problems?"
What do you do?
Better Bike Infrastructure, Better Budgets
You're Not Alone
This Is What Happens When Markets Are Too Efficient
Chris Gibbons: This Is How You Grow a Local Economy
Updating Loose Ends
Americans may not wear face masks, even with survival at stake. Here's why.
Radio Apocalypse Now
Battleground with David Plouffe & Steve Schmidt