Prosperous Way Down

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= book and site on achieving prosperous degrowth



  • Book: A Prosperous Way Down: Principles and Policies. By Howard T. Odum and Elisabeth C. Odum. University Press of Colorado, 2001.

"Consider the future with less fossil fuel and no new natural or technological energy sources. How can it be peaceful and prosperous? More and more leaders concerned with the global future are warning of the impending crisis as the surge of unsustainable growth exceeds the capability of the earth's resources to support our civilisation. But while history records the collapse of countless civilisations, some societies and ecosystems have managed to descend in orderly stages, reducing demands and selecting and saving what is most important. Although some scientists predict disaster, this book shows how our world can still thrive and prosper in a future where we live with less and charts a way for our modern civilisation to descend to sustainable levels. The authors make recommendations for a more equitable and co-operative world society, with specific suggestions based upon their evaluations of trends in global population, wealth distribution, energy sources, conservation, urban development, capitalism and international trade, information technology, and education. This thoughtful and provocative book will force us to confront our assumptions and beliefs about our world's future, which is all too often taken for granted." (publisher)


"Consider the future with less fossil fuel. How can a lower energy lifestyle be peaceful and prosperous? Much thinking has already been done. Our civilization can thrive in a future where we live with less. Decisive, proactive changes in attitudes, policies and practices could divert a destructive collapse, leading instead to a prosperous way down, if we choose to do so?

The springboard for this site is “A Prosperous Way Down”, drafted in the mid 1980s by Howard T. and Elisabeth C. Odum, and published in 2001. Many of the energetic diagrams for the website are extracted from Mark T. Brown’s Emergy Powerpoints, which explain the meaning of energy diagrams and the method for Emergy Accounting and Synthesis." (

More Information

  1. Emergy Theory