Truckee author tackles doomsday scenario
October 24, 2008
The seeds of a story that would become a guide to the apocalypse were planted when a 108-year-old Indian Yogi touched Matthew Stein on the forehead 30 years ago.
“It was like an explosion of brilliant light going off in my head,” Stein said. “It was powerful and shattering at the same time.”
On the surface, Stein, 51, now seems like a typical Truckee contractor who would have taken a pragmatic approach to his manual on sustainability and survival.
The chapters of the encyclopedia-sized book covering survival seem to trace their roots back to Stein’s life of outdoor experience; hiking, climbing and skiing since the age of 5.
Other sections outlining everything from green building to metal-working fit neatly into his work as an engineer, designer, carpenter and contractor.
His keen MIT-honed intellect accounts for the rest of the seemingly-disparate content from climate change and oil to terrorism and disease.
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But ask Stein why he wrote “a manual for self-reliance, sustainability, and surviving the long emergency,” and he’ll hearken back to that moment of transcendence in 1977.
“Since then I’ve had quite a variety of spiritual experiences,” Stein said, who would use meditation to work through engineering problems while working at Hewlett-Packard.
And one day in 1997 when he was looking for guidance, Stein said he got a book project instead.
“I got this giant semi-apocalyptic project dumped in my lap,” Stein said.
After three solid years of work, bankrupted publishers, and a whole lot of money invested, Stein now has his second edition out, selling 10,000 copies in its first six weeks.
Stein said he hopes the broad scope of the book will reach a broad audience, exposing right-leaning readers who bought the book for survival tips, to global warming and other issues.
He outlines a scenario of continued climate change, ecosystem collapse, and what steps humanity has to take to stop it.
“It’s doable but difficult ” the same level of commitment it took to take down Hitler is the level of dedication we need to shift to sustainability,” Stein said.
Stein also gives readers the tools to survive ” like first aid, shelter building, and hunting ” if things don’t get better.
But when asked which way he thinks it’s going to go ” a world saved from catastrophe or one where people will have to fend for themselves ” Stein paused.
“I think the statistical chances of shifting to sustainability and saving the planet are poor,” Stein said. “But when people are forced into a corner sometimes they wake up and do the right thing.”
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