The Vision of Ecotopia Is Alive in Cascadia

by | Dec 17, 2008

I read the book Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach many years ago. In the book, the Pacific Northwest secedes from the nation. I’ve been a bioregionalist ever since.

Now I see in “Sunday Styles” that the book—which sold over 400,000 copies in the 1970s—has caught on with new audiences in churches and classrooms around the nation. A fact which has led Bantam to reissue the title this month.

Scott Slovic, a professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, said, “You hear people talking about the idea of Ecotopia, or about the Northwest as Ecotopia. But a lot of them don’t know where the term came from.”

The green movement’s focus on local foods and products, and its emphasis on energy reduction also have roots in “Ecotopia,” he said. In fact, much of Portland, Ore., with its public transport, slow-growth planning and eat-local restaurants, can seem like Ecotopia made reality.

Which must be why the copy editor of this section titled the article, “The Novel That Predicted Portland.”