Departments of Descent

RAYMOND DE YOUNG “As it becomes more acceptable to openly talk about the need to downshift our personal material expectations, a few geographic locations (e.g., Flint, Detroit) will come to realize this same need exists at the community level. In 2012, in a few locations, new governmental institutions will emerge (e.g., Departments of Descent) tasked with creating and implementing policies and procedures that intentionally shrink the services, infrastructure and political boundaries of cities, towns and villages. This intentional transition will not initially be driven by an understanding of the limits posed by declining net energy; the sole driver will seem to be local economic constraints. Nonetheless, the process will create a community-level response consistent with emerging bio-physical limits. And the very existence of these new institutions may diminish our psychological confidence in the role and predictability of centralized economic and political systems in our future affairs.”
Raymond De Young is Associate Professor of Environmental Psychology and Planning at the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment ( He is co-author of The Localization Reader: Adapting to the Coming Downshift. Cambridge: MIT Press (2012).
Source. 2 Jan 2012. Commentary: 2012 Predictions. ASPO USA Peak Oil Review.

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