Book list: What to do about peak everything and limits to growth

survive-collapseThere are plenty of survivalist websites, and I’ve certainly thought about how to survive, but I’m madly in love with my techno-optimist husband, so we’re not going to do anything.   Where best to be will keep changing – initially cities might be the best as they have more wealth and buy up food and other goods from the interior.   But eventually at some point of oil decline, tractors, harvesters, and food distribution trucks will not be able to supply cities and you’ll wish you were in a farming region, preferably growing whatever food you can in your own yard.

No matter where you are, you’ll want to stockpile food and water — Germany recently recommended that people should have at least 10 days worth (2016 Reuters). Not just for collapse, but earthquake, hurricane, and other natural disasters, or when the electric grid is down.

And above all, stockpile worthwhile books of how to do stuff, and entertaining books so you have something to do when the electricity is out.

More booklists

Alice Friedemann  author of “When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation”, 2015, Springer, Barriers to Making Algal Biofuels, and “Crunch! Whole Grain Artisan Chips and Crackers”. Podcasts: Collapse Chronicles, Derrick Jensen, Practical Prepping, KunstlerCast 253, KunstlerCast278, Peak Prosperity , XX2 report


  • Stan Cox.  Any way you slice it. The past, present, and future of rationing
  • USDOE. June 1980. Standby Gasoline Rationing Plan. U.S. Department of Energy Economic Regulatory Administration, Office of Regulations and Emergency Planning. (search energyskeptic for my review of it).

Where to Live

Given the popularity of concentration camps, involuntary conscription into armies, enslavement, civil war and chaos in other collapsing or war-torn nations, not only do you need to have useful skills, but where you live will play the biggest factor.

Richard Heinberg has written several books worth reading:

  1. The Oil Depletion Protocol. 2006. A Plan to Avert Oil Wars, Terrorism And Economic Collapse
  2. Powerdown. 2004. Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon World
  3. The Party’s Over. 2003. Oil, war, and the Fate of Industrial Societies

Other ideas

Howard T. Odum. 2008. The Prosperous Way Down: Principles and Policies
Ted Trainer. A list of his books is here


I think we’re heading back to 90 percent farmers as it was before fossil fuels. Given that most of the land in the U.S. is owned by wealthy individuals, corporations, and the government (see Fellmeth 1973 Politics of Land), this probably means the future will be one of brutal feudalism.

And if you do go back to the land, you should understand why this movement failed the last time in my book review of Agnew’s Back from the Land: How Young Americans Went to Nature in the 1970s, and Why They Came Back.


Lifespans doubled because of public health measures taken to treat water and sewage as explained in Laurie Garrett’s Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health.

One of the best books I’ve ever read for many reasons  is John Barry’s The Great Influenza. The epic story of the deadliest plague in History. The lesson to be learned is that people with poor / malnutrition were the most vulnerable to flu to dying.  Only two percent of America’s population died because the population was well-fed, but some countries may have lost up to half their population.

Good luck everyone!

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2 Responses to Book list: What to do about peak everything and limits to growth

  1. yt75 says:

    Rimbaud : “une saison en enfer”
    Everything was already seen, alas