Book Review: Garden Planet: The Present Phase Change of the Human Species

In Garden Planet, William H. Kotke presents us with a how-to guide on surviving the end of the world. He notes that “The information presented here, contrarily, indicates that there will be a mass die-off. We are preparing the new culture that will flourish after that.”Â

But more than just holing up in a bunker and surviving the collapse, Kotke offers a roadmap on thriving apres le deluge and restoring our battered planet to the Edenic paradise it once was, pre-Empire, pre-Global Warming, pre-Over-population, pre-Rape of the Planet – in short, pre-NATO (No Action Talk Only).

Kotke, as Cultural Anthropologist cum fin de siecle Urban Planner, draws his plays and strategies from the real world, from existing cultures who are adapting to increasing scarcity, and making do with less via ecologically sound and sustainable local practices. As more and more people seem to realize, many of the answers seem to be coming from “developing” countries, “traditional” arts, and “primitive” cultures rather than the avaricious, all-consuming, rich and “hi-tech” West. It seems the “First World” has taken on a new meaning; that is, that it will be the first world to go.

And go it will, according to Mr. Kotke. We are not talking about saving the whales here, more like birthing and wet-nursing new ones. We are beyond Save the Earth already. As he writes, “It is easy to fall into the trap of trying to “save the world”. That is, people who are heavily conditioned by civilized culture try to find the silver bullet that will save it. They try to find more energy, more efficient food production, population control and so forth so that conditions can be maintained just as they are. The information presented here, contrarily, indicates that there will be a massive die-off.”

We especially appreciate the self-actualization processes that are implicit in Garden Planet, with each according to their abilities contributing, sharing, growing, and developing. In the end, perhaps it does really take a community, however idealistic this may sound to some. So be it. One has only to open one’s eyes to see what is going down today in the world of men. It doesn’t take a Marx, Freud, or Einstein to see that we simply cannot carry on like this indefinitely. To paraphrase Lennon (John), he may be a dreamer, but let’s hope he’s not the only one.

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