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Ernest Callenbach

Ernest Callenbach (born April 3, 1929) is an American writer.

Born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, he attended the University of Chicago, where he was drawn into the then 'new wave' of serious attention to film as an art form. After six months in Paris at the Sorbonne, watching four films a day, he returned to Chicago and earned a Masterís degree in English and Communications.

Callenbach then migrated to California. From 1955 to 1991, he was on the staff of the University of California Press (Berkeley). A general copywriter for a number of years, he edited the Press's Film Quarterly from 1958 until 1991.

For many years Callenbach edited the Natural History Guides at the U.C. Press. He began to take environmental issues and their connections to human value systems, social patterns, and lifestyles just as seriously as he had taken film. He is therefore known as an author of green books, namely as author of the ecological utopias Ecotopia (1975) and Ecotopia Emerging (1981). He is said to have coined the word "ecotopia."

In terms of concepts of human involvement with the ecology, as well as some of the economic and social concepts, the Ecotopia books are related to what is known as the sustainability movement. Callenbach has been a part of the circle of West Coast technologists, architects, social thinkers, and scientists which has included such people as Ursula K. LeGuin, Sim Van der Ryn, Peter Calthorpe, Stewart Brand, Kevin Kelly, J. Baldwin, and John Todd. As with a number of these others, he has been a speaker, discussion panellist, and essayist.

Other books of Callenbach include:

  • Ecotopia Emerging (1981)
  • The Ecotopian Encyclopedia
  • Publisher's Lunch (1989)
  • Ecology: A pocket guide (1998)
  • Living Cheaply With Style: Live Better and Spend Less (1993?)
  • Bring Back the Buffalo!: A Sustainable Future for America's Great Plains (2000)


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