Scholars at the Irish non-profit Feasta have talked and written thoughtfully about the Long Emergency since the 1990s, long before the term was invented or most people had heard of the concept, and for years its most prominent spokesman was Richard Douthwaite.
His book The Growth Illusion criticised our exponential expansion twenty years ago, at the moment when it was perhaps least fashionable. At a time when few people had heard of peak oil or climate change, and they were mostly wrestling with apocalyptic fantasies, Douthwaite wrote engagingly about the economics of the Long Emergency, considered how we could transition to a stable world, and worked hard to engage the public and government officials.
I hear echoes of his prophetic ideas when I listen to Chris Martenson, John Michael Greer and Dmitri Orlov -- the last of whom I saw speak with Douthwaite at Feasta's 2009 conference in Dublin. I don't know whether any of these people were inspired by Douthwaite or came to the same ideas independently, but regardless, Douthwaite was a man before his time.
He died yesterday, and we will be less without him. Thank you for everything, Mr. Douthwaite.