Wednesday, 28 May 2014

A Recommended Read

I do a fair bit of reading, both fiction and non-fiction.  I just finished reading Ecotopia: The Notebooks and Reports of William Weston by Ernest Callenbach.  I should have read it years ago.

It was written in the 70's and found a place amongst the green movement and the hearts of young Pacific Northwest Coast romantics of the 80's(and even now), who dream of a new nation called "Cascadia.".   The yearning to form a new country, stretching from Northern California to Alaska (essentially along the North Cascades cordilleran), is spawned from feelings of western alienation in both Canada and the USA, a common Pacific Northwest culture, and a strong regional pride.  I am one of those who found the idea appealing but I am now old enough to realize that it is a nice but unrealistic fantasy.  Now I realize that people enjoy higher standards of living by being part of a collective where they can be more productive through collaboration rather than splitting into smaller divisive self-interest groups...this includes nations. The more inclusive one is, the stronger one becomes.   An example of my viewpoint is where countries such as Greece do much better economically as part of a larger European Union than independently.   This doesn't mean I have lost my regional pride and feeling of unity and comfort while living and traveling throughout the Pacific Northwest...on the contrary, when my favorite soccer team, the Vancouver Whitecaps plays one of our Cascadia Cup rivals (Seattle or Portland), I am happy to wear the colors of our region(blue, white, & green)

Make no mistake, Ecotopia is a fantasy but it is also  a thought provoking novel which does strike a chord with regional pride and our modern eco-friendly values.  I am still not sure if Ernest Callenbach is ridiculing (or not) all  the interesting ideas he brings up in this book because he does tend to portrait them as radical and extreme.  I have chosen not to take offense if he is lampooning the sentiments that I hold dear and still recommend this book as a good read.