In early 2000 we published an Encyclopedia of Millennialism as the first volume in the Religion & Society series, now with Routledge and soon growing as a separate list under the Berkshire imprint. Millennialism is a type of religious belief or movement–and there are many–based on special knowledge about the imminent end of the world. Today’s Christian fundamentalists, with their publishing successes like the remarkable Left Behind series (which I’m writing an article about at the moment), are millennialists.
Environmentalists can be millennialists, too, and the question in this case is could they possibly be right? Environmental doomsday predictions are based on harder evidence than faith in the Bible (I’m not knocking faith, but it is a different thing, and not as black and white as a bar chart showing oil reserves). Greener choices are vital, given the challenges we face if what James Howard Kunstler, a well-known and reputable author who generally writes about suburbia and sprawl (issues we covered at length in the Encyclopedia of Community), calls “the long emergency” comes to pass: “The End of Oil” from April’s Rolling Stone. (Thanks, Margaux, for passing this to me. I have to admit that I don’t see Rolling Stone as a matter of course.)