I really enjoyed this book. It's not the most riveting writing - he's extremely detail oriented and tends to use the same sentence structure repeatedlI really enjoyed this book. It's not the most riveting writing - he's extremely detail oriented and tends to use the same sentence structure repeatedly, etc. and it's not told as a "story" but rather as an information dump - but all that said, it's fascinating stuff. The main thesis is something many of us already know and that is that technology is part of the heat-engine that is human industrial civilization and as such, will always - always! - contribute to the problem, and in aggregate, will do so more than it helps solve the problem. So all technology, at least in its current incarnations, in aggregate, will lead us closer to the end game of a livable planet. Much of the book is spent discussing why this is the case, and some of the book is spent offering solutions. Overall, the author has a plan, similar to what you'd expect: no technology unless we can recycle, reuse all waste, or in such small quantities that the earth system can absorb it safely. Not gonna happen. One gets the impression the author doesn't really believe it will happen either, but feels obligated to lay it out... just in case? Yeah. Right.
Two very valuable things one comes away with are: a breakdown of the analysis required to understand and analyze a given technology's impact, which he recommends we do in-depth at all stages of a technology's development (including at the idea stage); and, a long list of questions to help you think more deeply about the content in each chapter, which serve as great inspiration for questioning *everything* our industrial civilization does. Good stuff.
I read this book because I have been feeling distinctly "anti-technology" lately, which, as a computer geek by training and career has put me in an uncomfortable spot. But I saw it coming, and well, I can't go back in time and change my college major. Plus, I do so love to watch NASA and similar organizations using all their wonderful technology to clarify the crisis we're in and help us understand the Earth system.
So many people seem to think we can technology our way out of this problem we have created for ourselves. This book lays out the proof for why that is a futile path. ...more
This book, along with This Changes Everything, should be required reading for everyone.
A fascinating and well-written insight into food production, sThis book, along with This Changes Everything, should be required reading for everyone.
A fascinating and well-written insight into food production, some of which I found surprising, some frustrating, some shocking. I knew little bits and pieces of what's in this book, but am glad to have had the satisfying experience of having it all placed into the big picture, so I now feel like I have a much better understanding of many issues. While this book is downright frightening in some ways, the author does a great job of offering both solutions to some of the problems he describes, as well as hopeful visions of the possibilities for a more food-secure future... if we will only act, and do the "right thing". Much of what needs to be done is in alignment with the list of things I ended up with after reading This Changes Everything, a reminder that everything is connected: food, climate, human health, population, fossil fuels... etc.
I just read about a word "Ellipsism": A sadness that you'll never be able to know how history will turn out. I do hope that I live long enough to know whether humanity gets its act together to fix all these problems, so that I know how history turns out... at least this part of history.
I am a huge fan of Naomi Klein's writing, and she doesn't disappoint with this book. It's a massive undertaking, well researched, well written, and shI am a huge fan of Naomi Klein's writing, and she doesn't disappoint with this book. It's a massive undertaking, well researched, well written, and she makes a scary and complicated subject interesting and, yes, a page turner (at times).
Given the problems we face with this issue -- climate change -- I think this book should be required reading for every citizen of the world, although we really don't have time to wait until everyone reads it. We are, as Klein says in this book, in "Decade zero". With the Paris climate talks coming up, I urge everyone who can read it before then to do so, so as to understand the scope of the problems we face and the kinds of decisions our world leaders will be taking: basically, to do something to prevent mass extinction, including possibly of the human species? Or not.
My only quibble with the book is the end. Every book, and, until recently, every article on climate change has a "but things will be fine if we do x, y, z" chapter/paragraph at the end. Klein certainly understands the gravity of the situation we're in and yet the end of the book still feels like a "but everything will be fine" sort of ending - not rosy pink, but certainly tinged with optimism. She describes her efforts to have a child, which seem so odd to me given our massive overpopulation problem and the likelihood that her child will face a short and rather unpleasant life (although perhaps Klein is rich enough now to protect her child from much of what is coming for a long time to come).
As someone who keeps up with this topic on a daily basis and has read extensively on it, I have no optimism left. Some writers online are now reflecting the realization that, yeah, we're pretty much screwed, but many still try to find an optimistic twist, which is sounding more and more false as we continue to do too little, too late to address the problem.
On the more positive side, anything we do to try to offset the damage is a very good thing. So Klein's optimistic ideas should all be implemented anyway, of that I am sure. And given how so many people prefer their news served with a big optimistic dollop on top, her approach at the end of the book is perhaps more likely to motivate people than my own resigned acceptance of the dire situation in which we find ourselves.
It still boggles my mind that we humans, the "wise ape", could so destroy our own life support system that it is no longer capable of supporting us, and yet that seems to be precisely what we've done....more
Excellent book; all the more poignant because it was written back in 2005 (three new chapters from 2009 and 2010), and we have done so little to avertExcellent book; all the more poignant because it was written back in 2005 (three new chapters from 2009 and 2010), and we have done so little to avert this catastrophe since then. We humans sure are dumb creatures for being "the wise ape". ...more
I love any book that helps me step back from our human condition to see it in its full ridiculousness from a bit of a distance. This book does that inI love any book that helps me step back from our human condition to see it in its full ridiculousness from a bit of a distance. This book does that in spades - so I loved it!
History, morphology, religion (both theist and civil), psychology, philosophy... this book has it all. Well written, and convincingly argued: we are leaving the civil religion of progress behind and, as we learn from previous civilizations, what will replace it is a new theist religion (most likely). What will it be? And how will it serve us as we enter the post-progress era?
Excellent read and absolutely a must read for anyone interested in ... well the future of life on the planet. I have been watching the progress of SheExcellent read and absolutely a must read for anyone interested in ... well the future of life on the planet. I have been watching the progress of Shell's Polar Destroyer... oops, I mean Polar Pioneer as it makes its way northward to begin drilling the Arctic and so this book was a highly relevant read at this time.
The connections between *everything* are mind boggling and brought out well in this book, not just connections in the ecosystem, but also connections between politics and potential future disputes over territory (E.g. Denmark, Canada and Russia all trying to claim the shelf under the geographic north pole, and several non-Arctic countries claiming an economic interest in the area).
I guess what got me the most about the book is despite the rhetoric we hear from the US and China, the fact is that all the Arctic Council countries are investing heavily in energy exploration in the Arctic, which confirms for me that they really have no interest in ramping down fossil fuels any time soon (I can buy that they *are* interested in renewables, but primarily as a way to give us *more* options in energy (for more energy use!!), rather than less). That's pretty clear. One thing about Canada: at least they don't lie about their intentions - Stephen Harper is very clear about his disdain for people who are worried about climate change and the environment. Perhaps it's better for us that he be honest about it rather than lie about it like leaders of other countries do.
Finally, I also noticed that the primary concern on MOST people's minds seems to be "How can we extract resources from the land and the ocean." There are a solid but small minority who are interested in saving species, saving habitat, and preserving some semblance of nature just for nature's sake. But it's clearly a minority. For example: the book provides several examples of scientists trying to re-establish species in a habitat, initially fighting local groups, but then leading to support by local groups only AFTER it's clear that burgeoning population of that species will lead to being able to hunt that species (e.g. the wood bison).
While the author clearly has an agenda to try to "save" the Arctic in terms of reducing species loss and adapting/mitigating climate change where possible, and reducing habitat destruction by inevitable resource extraction, overall the book seemed extremely fair and balanced (although, given how little I know about this topic, who am I to judge)....more
Excellent read. I read this book primarily to try to understand why people deny climate change. Longer review with that goal in mind here: http://goo.Excellent read. I read this book primarily to try to understand why people deny climate change. Longer review with that goal in mind here: http://goo.gl/rW22sF
In general this is an excellent book to understand organizational challenges and the need for critical thinking and outside perspectives....more
This book is much more about performance than learning. My takeaway: practice practice practice. Practice smart. And you'll get better at performance.This book is much more about performance than learning. My takeaway: practice practice practice. Practice smart. And you'll get better at performance.
However, I didn't learn a lot about learning. ...more
Earthmasters is an absolutely fascinating book. It covers the science of the most "promising" geoengineering research, the political, corporate and orEarthmasters is an absolutely fascinating book. It covers the science of the most "promising" geoengineering research, the political, corporate and organizational interests involved in geoengineering, and the ethical dilemmas that come along with it.
Before reading this book, I thought geoengineering was still a fringe activity: something we are researching "just in case" even though we all know it would be crazy to do.
I was so very wrong. This book is a wake up call to anyone who thinks that humans wouldn't be crazy enough to attempt to geoengineer the planet because we are too lazy and selfish to stop using fossil fuels. We *are* too lazy and selfish to stop using fossil fuels, and it's just a matter of counting down the days until some government, or some rogue billionaire decides it is worth taking matters into their own hands.
The book starkly lays out the truth. We are heading for disaster one way or another: either we keep using fossil fuels as we do today and do nothing, or we keep using fossil fuels as we do now and do something insane to try to offset the effects. (The third choice, to stop using fossil fuels has been roundly rejected by the powers that be.)
That humanity seems to be mostly content to ignore this truth is what's so mind boggling to both myself, and the author, Clive Hamilton. He is doing his best, through his books, to try to inform us. And we are all mostly ignoring him. The money to be made from fossil fuels is just too great. (Even organizations that deny climate change are getting in on the geoengineering gig, to hedge their bets so they can continue to make money on fossil fuels!).
I urge everyone to read this book: know what we're in for. Not because we can prevent it at this point, but as a reminder to go out and enjoy life to the fullest NOW. Because it's gonna be over before we know it.