I'm a big Naomi Klein fan and I consider myself an environmentalist so I was quite excited to read Klein's new book on climate change. I was worried tI'm a big Naomi Klein fan and I consider myself an environmentalist so I was quite excited to read Klein's new book on climate change. I was worried that it would be depressing -- I don't know about you but with the passing of each day and nothing being done about climate change I get more and more resigned to the fact that the planet is doomed. Frankly I don't understand why it's not a bigger deal to everyone in the world. We should all be alarmed, but instead our heads our buried in the collective sand. Perhaps that's because we may be past the point of doing anything as a species to save the planet from its man-made demise. Here's what NASA's Dr. James Hansen has to say about our situation:
“If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from [current levels] to at most 350 ppm.” Dr. James Hansen
Right now we’re at 400 ppm, and we’re adding 2 ppm of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere every year. Unless we are able to rapidly turn that around and return to below 350 ppm this century, we risk triggering tipping points and irreversible impacts that could send climate change spinning truly beyond our control. This is not hyperbole. It's not a theory. It's not up for debate. It's science and the odds are against us.
Klein's hypothesis seems to be, and I am oversimplifying it, is that only a mass social movement like what we saw in the 1960s on equal rights or during the 1800s like we saw to end slavery will we be able to move the needle to avert this crisis. In fact, she argues that our entire way of life -- our capitalist society -- will need to change in order for us to turn things around. She may be right. For as long as extractionists continue to make obscene amounts of money from fossil fuels and control the political will of nations we will be fighting a losing battle.
Yep. Klein's book was depressing as hell. As she outlines all of the things that are wrong with our systems (political, social and otherwise) it becomes harder and harder to imagine humankind has the will or the desire to stand up to the status quo. Sure, she points out plenty of isolated cases of people rising up to stop pipelines or mining operations around the world. She calls this "blockadia" and suggests this is the start of a worldwide movement to fight for the planet. She makes a compelling case that the world's indigenous peoples will possibly lead this fight because they are perhaps the most threatened by climate change and extraction. She tried to be optimistic about the future, but frankly she doesn't convince me that anything will change on a massive scale, the kind it will take to keep us from raising global temperatures beyond the 2 degree barrier that so many scientists believe will mark the tipping point.
She argues as well that what we do as individuals (like recycling and using canvas bags at the grocery store) is not enough, that we need a movement to energize the masses. But Katrina didn't do it. Superstorm Sandy didn't do it. Drought hasn't done it. What will it take for the 99 percent to stand up to the thieves who are extracting us into extinction?
At one point her argument made me feel like we were all in some warped Hunger Games society, but there is no Katniss Everdeen to save us from the bad guys. Who will lead us to victory? Fredd Krupp? Robert Redford? Leonardo Dicaprio?
I agree with Klein's premise, that we need a Marshall Plan for the planet and our economic system is designed to propagate the problems. I just don't see how we'll drag people away from the Kardashians to do anything about it. Yes, I'm a pessimist. But I haven't seen anything to show me otherwise.
I'm not even sure what I can do about it. I am a good steward of my own environment, but it's not enough. And there's no global movement to join. Am I supposed to blow up fracking equipment and sabotage oil wells? I have a family -- I can't go to jail.
I guess I'll continue to stand by and wait for someone, anyone, to lead us out of this mess.
Very enjoyable read for fans of Tom Robbins. While I've read all of his novels, some more than once, hearing him tell his life story makes me want toVery enjoyable read for fans of Tom Robbins. While I've read all of his novels, some more than once, hearing him tell his life story makes me want to go back and read his novels again!...more
Equal parts exciting and terrifying, Greenwald paints a picture of a US spying program that should have all Americans (and everyone else in the world)Equal parts exciting and terrifying, Greenwald paints a picture of a US spying program that should have all Americans (and everyone else in the world) pissed off. But more than the NSA overreaching legal ground, Greenwald also lambastes the mainstream media for its complicity in the practice. By all accounts Edward Snowden appears to be a smart, thoughtful American patriot who uncovered the government's illegal spying program and knew he couldn't remain silent even knowing it would cost him his own freedom. To me that makes him a real American hero. But Snowden is only a subplot in this drama -- the US government is spying on us and many American companies are helping them all in the name of the "war on terrorism." If you don't think it matters you don't understand the premise on which America was founded. Thanks to Glenn Greenwald for being a "real" journalist and to Ed Snowden for his sacrifice. Great book. All Americans should read it!...more
It's pretty simple. If you came of age in the 80s and loved modern rock you will enjoy this book. Each chapter tells the story of a different seminalIt's pretty simple. If you came of age in the 80s and loved modern rock you will enjoy this book. Each chapter tells the story of a different seminal new wave song through discussion and interviews with the artists. From Howard Jones to The Smiths to Echo and the Bunnymen, it's all there and with no hold's barred.
It's really amazing to think that most of these songs are more than 30 years old, and even more amazing to hear from the artists who performed them. It's not often you get this sort of inside scoop from the bands you love, and the honesty is remarkable. Sure, there's some dissing of former band mates and some razzing of musical rivals, but mostly it's honest talk about how the song in question came about and what it meant to the band. In many cases you also learn about the origins of the bands and sometimes you learn about their demise. In some cases you learn about the tension between the band members (like when Adam Ant was kicked out of his own band).
Some of my favorite moments were when the artists simply recalled about how much fun they had at the time and how lucky they felt to have had their moment in the sun, even if it didn't last long.
The biggest takeaway for me was how so many of the new wave bands of the 80s were influenced by the same few artists -- mostly David Bowie and Roxy Music. It makes sense that the new romantic movement would come out of Bowie and Ferry. By the same token, most of the electronic bands of the 80s (New Order, OMD, Ultravox, etc.) were influenced by the German experimental stuff of the late 70s, most notably Kraftwerk.
I highly recommend this book if you are an 80s modern rock geek like me. Oh, and just for fun if you are on Spotify I created a playlist with all of the songs from the book!
One of the things about award-winning literature is that such awards are subjective. Over the years I have tried to read as many Pulitzer Prize winninOne of the things about award-winning literature is that such awards are subjective. Over the years I have tried to read as many Pulitzer Prize winning novels as possible, and sometimes I have been disappointed while other times I have been blown away. The Goldfinch made my to-read list specifically because it won this year's Pulitzer and, well, I wasn't sure what to expect. That said, I really liked it! I wouldn't give it five stars, but it was a wonderful story told by a superb writer. Was it Pulitzer worthy? Well, it was certainly better than some past winners in my opinion.
I have always been a sucker for a coming of age story and this one is so very interesting. It's really difficult to write a novel from the perspective of a flawed character and the protagonist in The Goldfinch is definitely flawed. It may not all be his fault because he had his share of childhood trauma, but he's not exactly a good guy. I also like that the story is written by a woman from a young man's perspective...very cool.
The Goldfinch is also a very modern story with interesting characters all of whom are flawed in some way -- just like real humans. The story is fun, the plot twists, the characters have depth and on top of it all Tartt is a wonderful writer.
It's the not-too-distant future and a gang of high school friends are roaming the streets of San Francisco playing a game when terrorists blow up theIt's the not-too-distant future and a gang of high school friends are roaming the streets of San Francisco playing a game when terrorists blow up the Bay Bridge. In the wrong place at the wrong time, the gang gets swept up in a Homeland Security sweep and their lives are changed forever. Cory Doctorow's novel is a cautionary tale of a post-911 world where the government tracks our every move and freedom becomes hard to define. How much security is too much? What is the government doing to presumably "protect" us from terrorists? What is the definition of privacy? It's 1984 meets Ready Player One.
This was a very enjoyable novel, which may or may not be aimed at young adults. Regardless, the issues brought forth in the story are relevant to teens and adults alike. In some ways it is a bit far-fetched because the protagonists are under age, but in other ways given what we now know about the NSA post Edward Snowden I wouldn't put anything past our government. It's interesting by the way that this novel was written long before Snowden's revelations (you are a scary man Cory Doctorow)!
I'd heard good things about Doctorow but this is the first thing I've read by him. Doctorow is a Canadian blogger/journalist who writes about technology, digital rights, the open source movement and related issues. Little Brother brings all of these issues together in a novel that causes the reader to look closely at how so much of the world has become a police state.
Little Brother was a New York Times best seller and won several literary awards. The novel is available for free on Doctorow's website under a Creative Commons license. http://craphound.com/ ...more
Really nice little novel by a wonderful author who is quickly becoming a favorite. this story is certainly not as spectacular as Beautiful Ruins and mReally nice little novel by a wonderful author who is quickly becoming a favorite. this story is certainly not as spectacular as Beautiful Ruins and maybe had I not read it first of have given this book four states instead of three. A fun read nonetheless....more