Britt's Reviews > As the World Burns: 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Stay in Denial

As the World Burns by Derrick Jensen
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's review
Sep 24, 2009

did not like it
bookshelves: fiction, graphic-novels, green, wretched
Read in October, 2009

I had hope that this book would have something more interesting to say about how to be good stewards of the earth, other than reduce, reuse, recycle, etc. I may not be as actively against our consumer culture as the characters in this story, but I have long been frustrated by the greed and selfishness of government/corporations/individuals who don't really care what kind of effect their actions have on their environment. I was encouraged to see this book mention that it would take more than people just recycling and using different light bulbs.

But then it just went downhill and got really boring really fast. It harps on and on and on about the evil corporations and the evil government without giving any practical solutions. It is way overly simplistic, and it uses the same fearmongering that it accuses the government/corporations of using. It is self-righteous, unsophisticated and narrow-minded. It does not even make its laborious point in an interesting or clever way.

Hey, I know, let’s blow up a dam to save the little fishies! Nobody got hurt; we are doing a service to the environment! Who cares about what effects it might have on the surrounding communities or the surrounding environment? We freed the fish!

Hey, let’s free all the lab animals and blow up the research lab! Who cares what kind of conditions these animals are actually in? Who cares that they are probably injured and ill and wouldn’t survive on their own? Who cares that they may be infected with various diseases? They are free and so grateful now!

Basically, blowing up a dam is good, and thinking blowing up a dam is an act of terrorism is a ridiculous overreaction in an attempt to maintain the status quo for making corporations rich. The only reason someone would care that a building or a dam was blown up is because they are greedy and rich and lost a source of money.

Terrorism is defined as the systemic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. Why are the adorable little bunnies blowing things up? I guess they’re not trying to coerce others into seeing how greedy and uncaring they are towards the environment. I’m sure these explosions are actually having a rejuvenating effect on the environment.

And of course all the sweet, little anthropomorphic animals live in harmony together and just want everyone to get along. Let’s sit around the campfire singing kumbaya as we soak in all the beauty of a pristine wilderness. I’m sure the animals aren’t actually going to turn around and eat the plants that they are fighting beside. I’m sure the bears would never eat the little bunnies. No, they are all such good friends. There is no death or destruction in the real wild.

Basically, this has nothing interesting to say, and it’s not going to change the mind of anyone who doesn’t already fanatically agree.
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