The Localization Reader: Adapting to the Coming Downshift.

DOI: 10.13140/2.1.4821.8563 Publisher: MIT Press, ISBN: 9780262516877


Energy supplies are tightening. Persistent pollutants are accumulating. Food security is declining. There is no going back to the days of reckless consumption. But there is a possibility—already being realized in communities across North America and around the world—of localizing, of living well as we learn to live well within immutable biophysical constraints.

Society is shifting from the centrifugal forces of globalization (cheap and abundant raw materials and energy, intensive commercialization, concentrated economic and political power) to the centripetal forces of localization: distributed authority and leadership, sustainable use of nearby natural resources, community self-reliance and cohesion. While attention shifts to the local, there are crucial regional, national and international dimensions.

This book, combining original and classic works, shows how localization—a process of affirmative social change—can enable psychologically meaningful and fulfilling lives while promoting ecological and social sustainability. Topics range from energy dynamics to philosophies of limits, from the governance of place-based communities to the discovery of positive personal engagement. Together they point the way to a transition that can be peaceful, democratic, just and psychologically resilient.

NOTE: All royalties from the sale of this book have been allocated, by contract with the MIT Press, to two community organizations that exemplify localization. Growing Hope is an organization dedicated to helping people improve their lives and communities through gardening and local food security ( and People’s Food Co-op has long sought to feed a community with wholesome food and good work (

Contributors: Gar Alperovitz, Sharon Astyk, Wendell Berry, Adam Dadeby, Raymond De Young, John S. Dryzek, David J. Hess, Robert Hopkins, M. King Hubbert, Ivan Illich, Warren Johnson, Rachel Kaplan, Stephen Kaplan, Karen Litfin, Thomas A. Lyson, Dennis Meadows, Donella Meadows, Lester W. Milbrath, Thomas Princen, Jorgen Randers, Josiah Royce, Kirkpatrick Sale, Ernst F. Schumacher, Michael Shuman, Joseph A. Tainter, Robert L. Thayer

About the editors: Raymond De Young and Thomas Princen are professors at the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan. De Young is the author of numerous peer-reviewed journal articles on conservation psychology and urgent transitions and is the author of The Localization Papers ( and Princen is the author of The Logic of Sufficiency (2005) and Treading Softly: Paths to Ecological Order (2010) and the coeditor of Confronting Consumption (2002), all published by the MIT Press.



Available from
Jun 2, 2014